Across the U.S., police chiefs and fraternal orders of police are leading the pushback against senseless calls to defund or abolish the police.
These law enforcement leaders recognize the sacrifice that police make to keep communities safe and are willing to take stands against activists, elected officials, and the media in the name of upholding law and order and protecting the men and women in blue.
Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Joe Gamaldi summed up these efforts in an interview with Fox News earlier this summer, saying the increase of violent crime in cities across the country would only get worse with fewer police.
There is lawlessness in the streets, innocent citizens are being assaulted out there during these protests, and I think you are seeing the consequences of defunding police for the last few years,” Gamaldi said. “In every major city, we are short police officers. They’ve made it a point to not staff us to the point that we need to be. And now, violent crime is up in almost every major city.”
Police unions and Fraternal Orders of Police around the country are stepping up to let the public know about the important work police do, and why they’re important now more than ever.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales called for civility in the discussions about police funding. In an op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he reiterated that you couldn’t take away police responsibilities without having a plan to replace them.
“These social issues will not disappear because they are taken off the police call sheet,” Morales said. “Those organizations must be funded, staffed and prepared to embark on this new vision as partners.”
The Milwaukee Police Department responds to about 700 calls per day; in 2019, it responded to 80,000 calls that were not crime-related. Rather than “defunding” the police, Morales would like to see other social services in the city expanded to better accommodate mental health and family issues.
Morales also called for reduced traffic enforcement and a reduced police presence in schools as a way to fund the increased social services that will allow police to focus on violent crimes and offenses.
Police leaders in Cincinnati are pushing back against the city council’s decision to limit the use of pepper spray and are calling on the city’s residents to show their support for police.
Rather than making the decision about pepper spray based on public safety, Dan Hills, President of Fraternal Order of Police’s Queen City Lodge #69, said they acted based on perceived political benefits.
“They (council members) seem to be more concerned about… political pandering,” Hils said at a press conference in June. “They seem to be more concerned about potential votes or recognition.”
Hills also blasted the city’s elected officials for not standing by police during times of crisis, as happened earlier this summer following George Floyd’s death.
“Why doesn’t anybody in city council have the guts to stand up and say… our police department is working constantly on progressive change and progressive betterment,” Hils said.
Pepper spray was also an issue in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the city council voted to defund chemical agents as a result of one viral video.
Chris Kopp, Public Information Officer for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, said the council acted too quickly without first gathering information about the police officers’ side of the story — even though police will be the ones left dealing with the consequences of not being able to use pepper spray.
“To already see the city council take this to a vote without getting input from all sides, I think we could have come to common grounds,” Kopp told WCNC. “It sets our city back decades.”
Kopp said the council’s decision would also hurt morale among officers, who are already facing a tough job in the face of COVID-19 and ongoing civil unrest throughout the city. Decisions like this one also make it tough to recruit new officers, he said.
“The morale at CMPD is extremely low,” Kopp said. “Officers that are there, we’re going to start seeing them leave. It’s going to be extremely hard to recruit now, who’s going to want to come to the city of Charlotte where their own city council doesn’t even have any faith in them.”
While calls to “defund the police” are easy to share on social media and yell in the street, actually implementing them is much more difficult — and dangerous — for our communities. That is why National Police Support Fund launched an awareness campaign highlighting the facts about defunding police. Learn the Facts About Defunding Police here.