Why is it that in national conversations surrounding cop-community relations, the onus for improving this long-eroded relationship seems to fall solely on police?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with police departments committing extra time and resources to improving their image in crime-ridden neighborhoods and communities. It’s an irrefutably positive trend. However, the many attempts by police forces coast-to-coast reek of appeasement, and carry with them an oft-overlooked implication: it is cops, not neighborhoods plagued by violent crime for decades, that are the problem.
It’s been said many times before, but the job of a policeman tasked with patrolling dangerous neighborhoods comes with risks that include one’s life. Of course, the thankless job of being a cop means that the occasional bad egg or unfit, hair-triggered officer commits an act that tarnishes the reputation of all blue lives. But the nationwide, short-sighted obsession with vilifying all cops, most whom have dedicated and risked their lives to protect strangers, continues to distract from the root of strained relations.
Without the exorbitant rates of crime necessitating cops visit the same neighborhoods with regularity, and the ceaselessness with which perpetrators commit these crimes, community relations would not be an issue.
But we don’t like to talk about the issues that have led to generational confinement to ghettos infested by violent criminals who thoughtlessly pepper neighborhoods with gunfire daily. We don’t like to talk about the breakdown of the two-parent family in so many minority neighborhoods, or how to reverse this trend that leaves so many young people without a model for a successful life. The mainstream media rarely, if ever, talk about the government policies that have fostered unprecedented rates of teen pregnancy and government dependence, limiting the potential of children born into these hard-scrabble existences.
Aside from black intellectuals like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, discussions regarding the true reasons which make life in so many high-crime, majority-minority neighborhoods a living hell simply don’t occur among the people most affected.
In the absence of these productive discussions about what creates crime, and how to stymie these negative forces, too many engage in the decidedly unproductive act of cop-blaming. This only furthers the dearth of real solutions to improve life in America’s motley iterations of the ghetto. Many policemen, desperately aware that they are being unfairly scapegoated, yet even more desperate to improve their standing among the residents who see them most, go along with the charade.
The latest attempt by police to break down the image of them as minority-hunters involves them handing out ice cream to residents of high-crime neighborhoods, at no cost to the residents. This blanket approach– handing out free stuff to quell the masses– has worked for the Democratic Party, much to the detriment of the recipients. And, like the government-as-a-provider approach that Democrats rely upon to maintain many of their minority constituents, this approach will only further serve as a thinly-veiled “solution.” In reality, it is nothing more than another distraction from solving the real problems which have led to mass distrust, and in many cases hatred, of cops in high-crime neighborhoods.
I don’t profess to hold the answers to reversing government dependency and the prevalence of lost youth left without proper role models and guidance. But, even I know that free ice cream isn’t the answer to ending the war on cops.
You have to respect the extent to which cops routinely go to engender some level of respect and friendliness from those who are taught from a young age to hate them:
“St. Louis officers went on Craigslist and bought a used, four-freezer Dippin’ Dots truck for $16,000 and filled it with donated ice cream. The truck rolled out last year in late July, driving around neighborhoods and to events to distribute free ice cream. Its motto: “To Protect and to Serve Ice Cream.””
But, as many know, improving relations between cops and residents in these neighborhoods is a one-way street. Even when cops hand out free ice cream, they can’t avoid being accused of murders which they never have, and never will, commit:
“They say, ‘I don’t want any ice cream, I want you all to stop killing us,’ ” Lt. Latricia Allen said. “I say, ‘I’m sorry that you feel that way, but you can still have some ice cream.’ ”
Latricia Allen has all the best intentions in starting this program, but the idea that free ice cream, not maintaining policies such as stop-and-frisk, will serve as a preventative measure in crime-stopping is simply bizarre:
“Ice cream and other community-oriented policing efforts focus on preventing crime rather than just responding to it. Many departments, with the encouragement of the Obama administration, strengthened community-policing programs, which rely on frequent contact with residents.”
To make matters worse, the seemingly noble act of handing out free ice cream comes with a cost, which in some cases means policing resources:
‘The Columbia, S.C., police department spent $26,000 on an ice-cream truck that made its debut in July, paid for with bond money for fleet vehicles that was unspent. “It’s a head-scratcher” with some officers, Chief Skip Holbrook said.”’
One police officer pointed out that the ice-cream initiatives aren’t meant to lower crime rates, but to quell skepticism of cops. Such statements are misguided in both respects.
For one, mistrust of police is not something that the average cop can repair. They did nothing to erode community trust in the first place, and they should not feel responsible for repairing it. Cop-bashing has become a political tool of the left, and recidivist criminals- who often control neighborhoods through fear– have long led the brainwashing of other residents that cops are to be feared, not trusted to protect law-abiding residents. Unfortunately, this narrative has been embraced by a generation of young people– the generation that brought you BLM– who often do not have in-house authority figures to teach them differently.
Despite what the left may tell you, it is not the cops that sowed the seeds of mistrust. It was drug dealers, gang-bangers, and politicians who have long-sought to capitalize on this fear who fomented the idea that cops started the violence, and therefore must lead the charge in being seen as trustworthy.
And, it is time that cops stop spending money attempting to win the minds of those who have been brainwashed to hate them. Just do your job, and do your best to ignore misguided perceptions.
Ice cream is great, and can’t do any harm. But in the grand-scheme of what cops offer a crime-riddled community, free ice cream is not going to do any real good either.