WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Congressman Troy Nehls (R-Texas) co-authored an op-ed for FoxNews.com celebrating National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day and the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who serve their communities as police officers. Whip Scalise and Congressman Nehls call out Democrats for their attempts to distance themselves from the “Defund the Police” movement, which has weakened police departments and left law enforcement officers feeling demoralized. In addition, Whip Scalise and Congressman Nehls highlighted how Democrats’ radical anti-police agenda has caused a dramatic rise in homicides in cities across the country and record rates of police retirements.
Today, on National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, we honor the courageous men and women who proudly serve our communities and keep our families safe. Every day, they put their lives on the line to protect us, despite the rhetoric and policies of anti-police Democrats. We must stand up against the radical “defund police” movement and show our law enforcement heroes that we have their backs. We must reject the efforts of the Democrat politicians and liberal city councils who are defunding their police departments and refusing to prosecute violent criminals. As violent crime surges across the country, most notably in Democrat-run cities, it is disturbing that liberal and progressive lawmakers do not take responsibility for how their extreme policies have crippled police departments and allowed violent criminals to run rampant throughout our streets. The city of Detroit serves as a counterexample and was able to lower its homicide rate while murders spiked in other big cities nationwide. In an interview with The Detroit News, Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore said, “When you make police more visible, you’re removing a lot of the opportunity for crime.” Anti-police Democrats are doing the exact opposite. By slashing police budgets, and undermining law enforcement officers, leftist Democrat officials are making it incredibly difficult for police departments to hire and recruit new candidates. In many cities, law enforcement officers no longer feel supported, or able to safely protect their communities. In addition to the everyday sacrifices law enforcement officers make, this lack of proper funding and support means many officers will be less likely to continue to serve in law enforcement. According to a survey from the Police Executive Research Forum, police departments have seen a 45% increase in retirements. In addition, there have been nearly 20% more resignations from officers in 2020-2021 compared to the previous year. These are alarming numbers. In smaller cities and towns, police departments are struggling to respond to Democrats’ anti-police rhetoric, thereby making it more difficult to recruit the qualified officers they need to keep their communities safe. In many liberal cities, like Austin, Texas, there are not enough police officers to respond to 911 calls unless it is a life-threatening emergency. In Austin, citizens are now required to call 311, instead of 911, unless they are in immediate danger. Save Austin Now, an organization that supports increased funding for law enforcement, says this change is because, “The police force simply does not have the manpower to respond to every call, so they have made the tragic and very difficult decision to stop responding with police officers to non-life-threatening calls.” This is unacceptable. In 2021, 12 major U.S. cities saw their number of homicides shatter previous records. For example, with 797 homicides, Chicago recorded its worst murder rate in 25 years, with more murders in 2021 than any other city in the United States. This statistic includes New York City, which has 3.2 times more people than Chicago, and Los Angeles, which has 1.4 times more people than Chicago. In 2020, the United States recorded more than 20,000 homicides, which was a 30% increase compared to murders in 2019. The facts speak for themselves – Democrats’ far-left rhetoric, policies and actions have jeopardized the safety of our nation’s law enforcement officers and made our communities much less safe. More tragically, during the past year, there were 487 police officers nationwide who died in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. These officers, and their families, remain in our prayers. We will never forget these heroes. We must honor their legacy by making it safer to serve in law enforcement.
President Biden and congressional Democrats must put aside their partisan theatrics and work with Republicans to protect American families by supporting our law enforcement officers. Our police officers work long hours and make tremendous sacrifices so that we are able to work, live and raise our families in the safest communities possible. They wake up each day ready to charge into danger because they have our backs, and it is time that we all have theirs.