By Michael “Britt” London
This past year was a challenge for many reasons and those of us in law enforcement have been on the frontlines managing a deadly pandemic, demonstrations against racial injustice, and political instability. Being a police officer is an inherently tough job, but these external factors have made it even more difficult for those who are trying to protect our community.
I have served in uniform for 25 years. Given the recent unrest and division, I am frequently asked why I would want to be a police officer in this environment. It’s the same reason why most men and women in uniform do – to serve the communities that we call home.
This type of service is not easy. There is constant criticism, gross stereotypes and generalizations, vitriolic attacks against police officers and, more recently, efforts to defund and eliminate police departments. What critics are failing to acknowledge is the common goal we share – keeping our community safe.
Phoenix residents understand that safe neighborhoods require an investment. A poll released by OH Predictive Insights reveals that a strong majority of Phoenix voters support more funding for the Phoenix Police Department and have high praise for the department.
With violent crimes continuing to increase in the Phoenix metro area compared to last year and a dwindling workforce as police officers continue to retire, we are ill-equipped to manage the current demand.
We need to increase resources for public safety personnel, professional mental health services and rapid response so we can best meet the needs of our community. Investing in public safety is the only way to create safer neighborhoods for our families. We urge those who spent the past year demeaning police officers across the nation to put politics and divisive tactics aside so we can create meaningful change in our community.
We are beginning this new year with clear eyes and open hearts, with the hope that we can bring our community together for the common good. We are not opposed to change. Just like any professional industry best practices must always be implemented to protect the public and our officers. But we are opposed to efforts to eliminate our profession.
Approaching a home at 2 a.m. to a domestic violence call is necessary; seeking a wrong way drunk driver is necessary, searching for a missing child is necessary; and we do this work without hesitation.
This year affords us the opportunity to create a public safety system that meets the needs of our community and keeps our most vulnerable safe.