Current Factors in Today’s Law Enforcement & Annual Convention Updates
Few would argue that there have been worse times to serve in law enforcement than have been experienced over the past 3 years. Was it the rioting in many of our most populated cities or the “net” that was intended to corral a few “bad” officers which ultimately landed across all of your shoulders? Take those things and add in the “100 years pandemic,” and this once honorable occupation has taken more than its share of hits. Many of you continue to persevere; some others have chosen another life either by retirement or simple resignation.
While those factors played a significant role, you hung in there as the media, some organized groups, and many elected officials decided that “defunding the police” was a good idea. Those who had already determined that you made “too much money” and had “fat pensions” wanted to “circle back” (if I can borrow that overused term). Oddly enough, there has been some shift in the views of the Michigan legislature. They have found previously undesignated or unrestricted money that some of those who have never left us determined should be used to assist in the recruiting and retention of law enforcement officers. This is good news but it cannot be ignored that recruiting good candidates doesn’t simply switch on and off that quickly. Our best recruits are young people that want this job long before they are even old enough to be eligible. But the good news is always a welcome alternative.
Some of this shift in ideas is not only because they have found some money. The facts that are surfacing have reminded them of what the trends have become in those same three years. The number of law enforcement officers nationwide went DOWN by 17% between 2019 and 2020. Meanwhile, without COVID deaths counted, 48% of officers killed in 2020 were due to assaults. In 2021, 59% of officers killed were due to assaults and, as you may have guessed, through 4/10/2022, deaths due to assaults are at 62%.
How are we doing with fewer officers? In Michigan, the violent crime rate for 2021 was up 9.3% (double the national average). Yes, Michigan ranked 10th in the violent crime rate category. Maybe law enforcement officers aren’t such a bad investment. Please review the POAM.net homepage and read about those elected officials that stand firmly behind our members. Don’t forget them. Remember that elections have consequences. Even if you don’t live in their district, send them a note. It helps. They do listen! Winston Churchill said, “The best argument against democracy was a five-minute discussion with the average voter.” Don’t be an “average voter.”
Annual Convention & Police Week
As I write this, I am advised that emails are going to all local leaders with the registration information for this year’s convention. We are back in May! We have a great couple of days planned for you. You can register your group and/or guests. Might be a good time to download the POAM App too! Watch your email. POAM Officers of the Year will be the highlight of our Thursday business meeting. Please try to attend. Our Wednesday seminar will include presentations by the POAM legal staff and our Lifeline leader, Dr. Ken Wolf. You’ll learn more about the Frontline Strong Together program that’s approaching its kickoff, and we have one of your favorite comedians entertaining at the Thursday night gathering.
For those of you who will be in DC for Police Week, visit the Memorial and the Museum. Such special places. And…..if you’re available on the evening of the 12th, please come see me and many of your friends at the Tune Inn! The Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipe and Drum Corp will be present and accounted for!
Hope to see you there.