Retired police chief: “What I’m seeing today in our country scares the hell out of me.”


This editorial was written by a former chief of police and staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

In 1980, I swore an oath. I swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the state of Connecticut, and the ordinances of the town I worked in. Most police officers and sheriffs across these great United States swear the same or similar oath.

I worked in law enforcement for 31 years, retiring at the rank of chief of police in 2014. I have friends who still work in public safety.

What I am seeing happening in our country today scares me to be honest. What scares me most is the fact that my brothers and sisters in law enforcement are being put in an extremely difficult situation.

Clearly we are in somewhat uncharted territory. One can argue that the current situation with coronavirus is either vastly overblown or is truly a crisis. My feeling is the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The problem as I see it is police officers are being put squarely in the middle, mostly by overzealous governors who are using the COVID-19 pandemic to assert their authority, mostly outside of the legislative process.

Look, I know and have known a lot of police officers and I can tell you this much: A vast majority of them are not comfortable with the situation they now find themselves in. I have spoken to several who said that they would actually rather retire than enforce these “emergency orders.”

What is truly ironic to me is that government officials, mostly Democrats, have spent much of the past 20-something years, primarily since the Rodney King incident, railing against cops, pigeon-holing all police officers as racist, gun-happy thugs, whose only goal when they leave for work is to shoot someone.

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates have said that the criminal justice system is “inherently racist,” with far-left liberal Elizabeth Warren saying it was “systemic from front to back.”

For Democrats, the police are a useful tool for when they want to go on an unabated power trip.

They have accused police of starting each day they go to work with the sole intent of going out and hunting down people. I know officers who have been forced to use deadly physical force, and I can tell you this has had a profound effect on them, and not in a good way.

These impressions could not be further from the truth.

Now, these same Democrats (and honestly some Republicans-hello Charlie Baker) expect these officers to go out into their communities and violate their oath to uphold the Constitution.

I am no Constitutional scholar, but I can assure you that based on what I have seen over the past two-and-one-half months, much of it violates a number of amendments guaranteed to Americans under the Bill of Rights.

You have police departments in Connecticut and New Jersey that are using drones to conduct surveillance on citizens in their back yards, or on public beaches, admonishing those who don’t appear to be maintaining the requisite six-foot distance from each other.

Americans have been told that these restrictions are based on “science,” but where is the science that says six feet is good but five feet is not?

Police in Kentucky were forced to prevent worshippers from exercising their rights guaranteed under the First Amendment on Easter Sunday by blocking access to a drive-in service.

If you look at the reasoning behind the restrictions that have been placed on American citizens, we were initially told that the lockdown and business closings were to “flatten the curve.”

This was to make sure that the health systems were not overwhelmed. Initially, this was supposed to be for a 14-day period. We were told that if this was not done, we could expect one- to two million deaths in the United States.

Then suddenly, the narrative changed and we went from 14 days to what, 10 weeks? The so-called “curve” was flattened weeks ago, with temporary hospitals set up by the Army Corps of Engineers dismantled due to lack of use.

Yet, we still see businesses shuttered and governors threatening owners with arrest when they have the audacity to try to make a living.

So, how exactly have governors been misusing the police?

In Bellmawr, New Jersey, a gym owner wanted to reopen his facility. He had implemented all manner of restrictions on his customers, restructured the inside of his facility to accommodate the random six-foot “social distancing” requirement, limited the number of people who could go in the gym, and implemented strict cleaning and disinfection programs.

Police officers were sent to the gym initially to prevent what was likely portrayed as a “riot” ready to take place. Of course, this wasn’t an Antifa crowd at the gym supporting the owner. This was a group of Americans who are sick and tired of draconian measures implemented by power-hungry governors who want our country to get back to work.

They were peaceful. The initial police response had a captain from the police department who advised the crowd they were in “violation of the emergency order,” then told them, “on that note, have a good day, and stay safe.”

This was clearly a police officer who gets it, who wanted nothing to do with Gov. Phil Murphy’s random, subjective shutdown order of so-called “non-essential” businesses. Unfortunately, several hours later, more police arrived, after the captain likely got a dressing down due to political pressure, and issued a summons to the gym owners for defying Murphy.

In fact, Murphy doubled down on his power trip, threatening that the gym owners would face “a different reality” if they opened again on Tuesday. There have also apparently been threats to arrest people who patronize the business. To their credit, the gym owners opened again Tuesday.

In Michigan, home of the poster child for out of control governors, Gretchen Whitmer, a 77-year-old barber was issued two citations by police officers for opening his barber shop in defiance of Whitmer’s executive order.

Karl Manke has been cutting hair for over 60 years, yet Whitmer believes his business to be non-essential while marijuana shops remain open. Not merely content with having the police do her dirty work, Whitmer also set the licensing division in the state after Manke, pulling his license to cut hair.

In Connecticut, according to Tuesday’s Hartford Courant, Gov. Ned Lamont, who fancies himself as some type of bargain basement Andrew Cuomo, expanded the authority of police in the state to legally enforce his legislature circumventing emergency orders.

Police will now be expected to enforce policies such as social distancing, felony non-wearing of masks and other random subjective policies that Lamont copies from other governors such as Cuomo.

Connecticut’s new order reads:

“State police and municipal police may enforce violations of orders issued pursuant to a civil preparedness or public health emergency and there is a public health need to add additional enforcement capabilities.”

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Of course, Gestapo tactics are not just being implemented by governors. In New York City, communist sympathizing Mayor Bill de Blasio has been among the worst of the power-tripping politicians.

He has threatened to literally have swimmers at beaches “pulled out of the water,” according to The Hill.

While beaches in Long Island and New Jersey intend to open for the Memorial Day weekend, de Blasio said New York City beaches would be closed. And who do you suppose will be tasked with pulling swimmers out of the water? NYPD cops probably.

I guarantee that police are torn by being put in the middle on this. Probably 99% of people become police officers because they want to help people, and most of that 99% is probably sickened by this misuse under the guise of “public health and safety.”

However being in the middle, they have to choose between fulfilling their oath to uphold the constitution and keeping their jobs. Given the fact that in very few cases since this fiasco started have courts been willing to step in and put a stop to the madness, officers in many cases do not have much of a choice.

There are places, however, when law enforcement authorities are refusing to play along with the Gestapo tactics of their power-mad governors. Several sheriffs in Michigan have said that their deputies will not enforce Whitmer’s orders.

Likewise in California and Washington State, some sheriffs have also refused to play along with their governor’s executive orders.

My fear is that as this goes on (and honestly some Democratic governors in my mind want this to go until November 3), the American people are going to get sick and tired of being forced to not live their lives, and moreover not be allowed to provide for themselves and their families.

While many people are still able to work because the magic government fairy deemed their employers are “essential,” there are tens of millions of people who are out of work, with little immediate hope of finding a job.

Desperate people do desperate things. And unfortunately, the face of these government lockdown orders is the police. Governors hide in their mansions behind their locked gates, sending their families down to their Florida estate like Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker did, while the police are on the front lines expected to enforce this garbage.

It is only a matter of time before you see police bearing the brunt of American’s anger over this subjective nonsense.

Summer is around the corner. It is going to get hot…and the tempers of Americans are going to be getting hotter. I pray for my brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

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