Despite the hue and cry from some, the election of Donald Trump as President will have a positive effect on policing and citizen safety in America. And it will not, in my opinion, decrease Americans’ civil rights.
I believe the No. 1 civil right is to be free from harm. Though broad historical trends remain positive, we’re in the midst of an increase in violent crime, and more Americans are now dying from drug overdoses than from automobile accidents.
With smart and aggressive local policing — encouraged by policies set by Washington, and by an example set by federal law enforcement — we can turn the tide.
For eight years, the Obama administration’s Department of Justice has waged a war on police. The focus has been on criminal justice reform instead of modeling intelligent strategies to push crime reduction.
The lead division in this war has been the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. It has instituted brutality and bias investigations into and forced consent decrees upon 16 cities, including Seattle, Portland, Ore., New Orleans, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Albuquerque, N.M.
At least 20 departments are either under consent decrees with the federal government or negotiating one at the present time.
These decrees require independent monitors to oversee compliance with these federal court orders. (Previous administrations have used consent decrees, but under their watch, most disputes with police had been settled through non-binding memorandums of understanding.)
This effort hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, but I believe it has corroded the initiative and independence of local law enforcement.