Is it still possible to save America when a war on law and order has been launched by politicians? (Op-ed)

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With Joe Biden’s win, it would seem that America has chosen criminal justice reform over law and order.

Terms like “defund the police” have become buzzwords, sparking anger on both sides of the political fence. But what does it really mean?

And what do Americans truly want and need to move forward in ways that protect citizens and properly fight crime? What messages got through to voters and which did not?

And what should we be doing and saying to be sure our intended audience understands what it takes to do our jobs well?

Let’s look at some recent facts.

This past year, California voters firmly rejected Proposition 20 (61%), a motion that would have put additional crimes on the list of violent felonies for which early parole is restricted, recategorized certain theft and fraud crimes, and required DNA collection for misdemeanors.

In contrast, they solidly approved Proposition 17 (58%) restoring voting rights to felons on parole.

In a similar vein, Los Angeles County voters elected criminal justice reform/progressive candidate, George Gascon, and sent incumbent Jackie Lacey, the first African American female District Attorney, packing.

Los Angeles County voters also passed Measure J, widely considered the preeminent DEFUND movement of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, by an astounding 58%. 
 
While California appeared to have overwhelmingly ruled in favor of reform, many law enforcement advocates believe that this doesn’t represent the entire picture.

Joe Cameron is the CEO of Connect Political, a California based consulting and political strategies firm. Since their inception, Connect Political has been extremely successfully battling City Councils looking to cut the pay and benefits of its union members and successfully fought off legislative attacks that set to hinder their ability to protect their communities.

Recognizing the need for a more effective approach to union politics, Joe pioneered digital and grassroots community outreach efforts that have allowed his clients to better communicate and ultimately connect with citizens (voters).

Citing cities in turmoil like Seattle, Portland and Minneapolis, Cameron said: 

“The ‘Defund Police’ Movement hurt the Democratic party overall in 2020,” 

He continued:

“But you can’t just open your PAC every two years and expect the community to believe what you have to say. You need a bond with them.”
 
There’s plenty of evidence to show that “Defund” had a negative effect on the reputation of the democratic party. House Majority Leader Whip James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) stated that the “defund the police slogan hurt Democratic candidates in the 2020 election.”

And though Democrats kept control of the House, their loss of several seats was most likely because of the progressive left pushing a radical “defund the police” agenda.

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West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) weighed in with a tweet stating:

“Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda; we do not believe in defunding the police…”

Even President Obama stepped in and called it a “snappy slogan”, igniting anger with the far left of the Democratic party.


 
Engaging The “Silent Majority”
 
The fact is that most Americans support the need for strong police presence in their communities. Cameron believes that by rethinking and retooling the way law enforcement organizations reach voters, he and his team can help them more effectively communicate their messages.

Cameron said:

“So many people are part of what I call a silent majority—wholly uneducated about what is going on,”

He went on to say:

“California has some of the best, well-structured police unions in America, including Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Association for Los Angeles Deputies Sheriffs, the Los Angeles School Police Officers Association and the Riverside Sheriff’s Association. But how many people have even heard of them, much less know what they’ve accomplished.”
 
To get the word out, Cameron is working with organizations to utilize digital marketing to talk about the incredible work they’ve done and will do in 2021.

Digital Political Marketing

Cameron says:

“If you aren’t spending a significant amount of campaign funds on digital marketing and more specifically, digital micro-targeting of your voters, you’re missing your audience.”

He goes on to explain that with everyone home on their phones, this is exactly where law enforcement organizations should be reaching them.

Since the election, Connect Political has allocated a significant amount of money towards digital political marketing.

Unlike conventional mailers, door-hangers, and phone polls, digital marketing carries the additional benefit of measurable analytics thanks to massive phone/mobile device connectively.

Cameron said:

“Mailers are great, but you don’t get analytics back from them,

“I can’t tell if voters are reading them or if they’re getting thrown out or caught in apartment complex junk boxes. But I do know when a digital ad is viewed. I can see when someone clicks through to a website and I can tell how long they stay and engage.”

Since 2017, Cameron and his team at Connect Political have helped public safety associations throughout California with tremendous success. As of late, they’ve seen a significant increase in winning percentages using targeted digital political campaigns.

In one race, they took $30K and successfully supported a candidate that many people had written off as a long shot.

Cameron credits his unique approach to issues for the company’s effectiveness. He also stresses that he owns and operates the Connect Political as a “cop first and a business owner second.”

What’s next?

With the 2020 election behind us, law enforcement unions across the United States will be up against insane criminal justice reform bills, including the following:

  • In Illinois, lawmakers are prepping to introduce a bill that will make it a felony for police officers to not activate their body cameras.
  • In California, lawmakers are set to introduce a bill that will prevent District Attorneys from investigating law enforcement “use of force” if they’ve taken political money from police unions.

Cameron notes that 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most contentious legislative seasons for law enforcement nationwide. He adds that if law enforcement organizations aren’t investing serious money into digital, then they’re wasting time.

Cameron said:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again while expecting a
different result,”

He continued:

“So, we’ve got to do things differently!”

Public Safety Association Consultants are based in the Los Angeles, California area and are serving public safety associations across the United States. For more information, go to www.publicsafetyac.com

About Joseph Cameron:
The son of a police officer, law enforcement is in Joe’s blood. Growing up in Massachusetts where his dad served for 32 years as a police officer/sergeant, he was keenly aware of his father’s influence within the local unions.

As a child, he watched his father work his shift and then put in another 8 hours for the police union. He explains that these days being a police union leader is a full-time obligation—one that most leaders can’t fulfill because today’s unions are not large enough to qualify for full release positions.

Now, after 11 years as a police officer and ten years as a law enforcement union leader, Cameron has made the move into the political arena where he’s helping bridge the gap with unique understanding of what it’s like to be a police officer and union leader.

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