You Get the Police You Ask For

May 2, 2017

We, as a profession, are not without sin. We have a sordid past on many levels. We have seen massive corruption, lying, scandals, thievery and abuses that include terrifying the weak, drug dealing, murders, torture and framing the innocent. Those aforementioned abuses and wrongdoings cannot be denied.

What also can’t be denied is that when those crimes are committed they are perpetrated by an incredibly small percentage of our more than 700,000 members.

In contrast, massive corruption, lying, scandals, thievery, physical and verbal abuse, sexual assaults, framing the innocent can certainly describe other professions as well, including our country’s politicians and members of the Fourth Estate, our media class.

This isn’t meant to excuse those in law enforcement who have dishonored the profession, it’s merely to add context.

Law enforcement has tremendous power given by the government, and with that comes necessary oversight. The profession needs to be held to the highest of standards and with that comes inspection, investigation, transparency, and critical assessments.

That said, politicians and the media, must understand that unjustifiably placing blame for of all society’s ills at the feet of law enforcement is resulting in the most serious of consequences: a rise in violent crime in vulnerable cities.


Last week Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh asked for assistance from the FBI to strengthen the city’s police department in the face of an alarming rise of violent crime in her city.

“Murder is out of control, too many guns on our streets, domestic violence is increasing in our city,” said the exasperated Pugh.

She continued, “I’m calling on all the assistance that we can possibly get because I can’t imagine going into the summer months with the crime rate that it is today, what that’s going to look like by the end of the summer?”

Mayor Pugh then thanked federal officials for their assistance in the arrest of a man who murdered a three-year-old in 2014. “It sends a signal I think to those who are committing crimes in our communities that you can no longer continue to do this. You will be found, you will be caught, you will serve the time because people’s lives are valuable.”

She couldn’t be more wrong.

One arrest by the Feds isn’t going to signal anything to make the slightest change in the violent behavior of the city’s criminals. Why? Because they’ve been getting quite a different message for over two years now. One delivered very loud and clear: You have free-reign in Baltimore. The police are tapping out.

The Mayor’s expectation that the FBI can assist in the day-to-day in Baltimore not only won’t happen, it can’t. The Feds, and I am not one to bash them, are great at what they do. But what they don’t do is don uniforms and walk a beat.

The Baltimore cops may be undermanned but that isn’t the reason for the surge in crime. They have been understaffed before. What’s different in the past two years? An absence of proactive policing. The surge in crime began immediately after the cops pulled back. Though no division of the elite political class, few criminologists, no mainstream media outlets, and no legal activist groups like the ACLU will openly acknowledge this.

Why? Because they are the ones who wanted proactive policing stopped in the first place.

Back to the FBI. What would the Mayor want them to do? Have their agents stand on corners of high-crime neighborhoods and sternly stare at the murderous criminals? I’m sure the gang-bangers will cower in fear and run in terror at the sight of a guy in a suit.

And if the agents become proactive, like the cops used to be, the same damn thing will happen to them that happened to the Baltimore police: complaints of “gestapo-type” tactics will be leveled. Racism is sure to be part of the hysteria.

Then you’ll see cowering and terror runs, though it won’t be the criminals, it’ll be the city leaders.

The anti-police pundits blather on about how the violence isn’t as bad as in the early 1990s. They’ll yammer about how the crime surge is only in about 75 of the country’s counties. They’ll wax poetically about economic issues, past history, immigration, lack of trust between the police and the community, and then they will go back to their security-controlled TV studios and gated communities, sip chardonnay and chitchat about law enforcement ills with like-minded peers.

Meanwhile, real people are dying, and the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, and the VIPs won’t be able to stop the carnage.


In Chicago, the police have been sidelined, demeaned, and maligned. They are very much aware that everything they do is a risk to their careers. Check the stats: They’ve shut-down, refusing to abide by the restrictive rules set down by the legislature. Not because they’re lazy, but because they and their families rely upon their jobs.

In two years the murder rate is up 60%.

I saw an African-American mother from the south side on TV a few months ago. She was enraged at a community meeting, decrying the police and in anguish over the violence in her community. When someone mentioned that the citizens wanted the police to discontinue Stop-and-Frisk she balked. “We want them to do Stop-and-Frisk! We just want them to stop the right people.”

And therein lies the problem.

As the ACLU pointed out, over 90% of the people frisked resulted in no contraband being discovered, proving, to them, the tactic is a failure and an undue hardship on those briefly stopped and patted down.

But the cops working high-crime areas, knowing they were pushing the limits of Terry v. Ohio when they detained and frisked young men of color in high-crime areas, knew something the academics didn’t. Something only the street and common sense teaches …

When you are interacting, stopping, talking, and patting, the other guys carrying the guns and drugs see it. They know they could be next. So they don’t carry when the cops are active. If they don’t carry, then they aren’t as quick to pull and use. Less people shot, less people dead.


Today is a different story. We have a very emboldened criminal element in many cities.

So politicians, pundits, etc., you got what you asked for. The question is: Did the citizens ask for it?

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  1. kenneth wise

    Spot on!

  2. Aaron Mcilrath

    Perhaps you are missing the real question. Should Law Enforcement be listening to political pundits and special interest groups or the citizens they serve? By not continuing to work and use every tool at their disposal, they are letting a lot of good people down. Zip up your boots, buckle your belt, put your vest on and go back to work. Stop making excuses and Protect and Serve the PEOPLE, as you swore to do! Led or get out of the way!

    • mikeb112

      Aaron, do not post such stupidity……. As it is now, any cop in Baltimore that is pro active is in danger of going to jail, just for doing what you say they should be doing… Instead of railing against the PD, why don’t you take action against the elected assholes who put my city in such danger….

      • Aaron Mcilrath

        We all have opinions. I gave you mine, you are welcome to yours. I for one believe the silent majority want you to keep working and protecting them. That silent majority voted for a change in the last presidential election. The loud minority (by numbers, not ethnicity) want law enforcement to stop working. So you are giving them what they want, just as the scared schoolboy gives the bully his lunch money. I am confident you will slowly see changes that bring back law and order. Courage comes in many forms, not just staring down a criminal with a gun. Courage to stay the course when the tide is against you is just as important.

    • bob h

      Aaron, you ignore entirely that real question you accuse the author of missing. I can’t speak with first hand experience about law enforcement in Baltimore in the same way as I can speak about law enforcement in and around the City of Chicago but I doubt the situation in Baltimore is very different from that in and around Chicago.
      The officers in both ARE listening to the citizens. Those citizens are speaking loud and clear when they march to proclaim police always use force based on skin color and that ANY use of force is “brutality”. They listen to both the elected and self-appointed representatives of those citizens when they demonize any police action that results in someone being injured or even if someone’s feelings get hurt. Police in the city and suburbs here aren’t refusing to report to work. They are simply refusing to put their livelihood at risk to do more than the minimum because they know they’ll get zero support if/when complaints are filed.
      You end your comment with, “Lead or get out of the way!” Do you realize that the people who will lead if police get out of the way are the people who have created this situation? I’m talking about the politicians- both elected and unelected- who never miss a chance to criticize police when they DO lead, the people who refuse to even step forward as witnesses when they see a crime committed, the armchair experts sitting on juries awarding millions of dollars to alleged victims because they KNOW the police MUST have done something wrong or at least should have done something differently, the media who don’t really care if they get the story right as long as they get it first, and the bottom feeding scavengers who make a career out of suing the police.

      • Aaron Mcilrath

        I watch the same news and put on a uniform as well. So yes I understand all of that. I just choose not to let them alter my course. I started this career to help people and I will continue to do that to the best of my ability until I retire. Law enforcement is always adjusting to new court rulings, changes in law and many other influences. We always find a way to get the job done. I am just suggesting that we stop focusing on what we don’t control and focus on what we do. Put some of your creative brain power toward how do we continue to serve and protect in the current environment.
        How will one of those officers in Baltimore or Chicago feel if one of their peers saw something and did nothing and that resulted in the murder of their loved one (spouse, child, brother, sister, etc.)? Not all of those murders are gang members. Innocents are dying to.
        Nothing I have said here is meant to minimize the difficulties, stress and heartache any current or retired LEO has experience over the last few years. I would just like the leaders in law enforcement to start helping lift the profession, rather than adding to the negative commentary. Jim Glennon is one of those leaders and I would like to see him write an article encouraging law enforcement to be better than the politicians, media, activists, etc. We have to be better than those that want us to stop working.

    • Dmitri Kozlowsky

      Lead, follow or get out of the way leads to now former, officer Roy Oliver shooting a 15 year kid , a non threatening passenger in a car, with his patrol rifle in the head.
      You are not heroes. You are a dangerous and immidiate threat.
      Perhaps Lead , follow, or STOP and ACCESS , would be more wise course of action. You go into a call primed to open fire , anything sets you off. Soldiers or Marines performing like our police do, under stress, would be decertified and deemed mission unready.
      Police have become our curse.

      • Itsthatoneguy

        You didn’t even respond to any of the points in both replies! You’re just one of those simple minded fools who like to CAPITALIZE various WORDS to make yourself look a little INTELLIGENT.

  3. Greg

    Very good article. Highlighting the real problem these cities are facing. The police are still there but now they are doing nothing more than report taking. No more proactive policing and THAT is the problem in a nutshell. Anyone who says otherwise if missing the forest for the trees.

  4. disqus_ho2ubAlnyr

    This is in fact the difference between Proactive and Reactive policing. If “Dude” thinks that he will be “Hassled” and stopped by the police, he will not drive around or walk around with is “piece”. But if you are in Chicago where police must fill out a two page report articulating the basis for every stop, AND THEN A COPY OF THE REPORT IS SENT TO THE ACLU, PER AGREEMENT WITH THE CITY; THEN NOBODY WILL BE STOPPED! The result is that many more people will be driving and walking armed. A simple misunderstood gesture or look, equals homicide. Simple Road Rage situations will result in shots fired. There will be No Fear or Apprehension of being stopped. The result is Chaos.

  5. Van Hamlin

    Baltimore’s problem started with the very politicians that reacted to save their political knecks by scapegoating and sacrificing their own PD. It is a corrupt government including corrupt top cops. Many have since been purged in yet another layer of scapegoating.

    The rank and file know this. They also knpw that th he FBI and the DOJ have not been their ally. Citizens need to leave town. Let the tax base implode. Let those who elected the corrupt leaders live with theie choices. At some point, Baltimore will go bankrupt and stsy that way until voters elect leaders that can support a professional police force.

    It will get worse before it gets better; ask Detroit.

  6. Roger Huntzinger

    Jim is always spot on! Love reading his articles!

  7. Pajamas

    Well said, Jim. There is no way I or my family go downtown anymore. The city has become a cesspool. That beautiful Harbor, done! Mosby and her husband and his City Council and the Mayors have destroyed Baltimore and now they have the nerve to beg for help. I hope they scream until the cows come home and they and their buddies are driven out of town. Yeah, go ahead Mary Pat Clark and push to raise the minimum wage in the City – give businesses another reason to flee to the counties.

  8. dennodog

    This well written article reminds me of the old coffee commercial that ended with “……… John Arbuckle once said, You get what you pay for”.
    We are now seeing what happens when leftist politicians placate criminals, and we’re paying for it.

  9. Sunshine Kid

    Well written article, in my opinion.

  10. Mac Humble

    The cops pay is the same, work hard, don’t work, same check. but….. if you slow down no complaints, no law suits, no internal affairs no federal investigations no civil rights violations AND the Pay is the SAME. how great is that.

    • Dmitri Kozlowsky

      If you look for trouble you will find it. That is police pro-activity in a nutshell.

  11. dennodog

    There are millions of interactions with police officers every day in the U.S. Just about all of them end without violence or hostility. Then there are the hostile and the criminal actions that unfortunately do require a physical reply. The reality is that there are really some people out there that are “not very nice, nor too bright” that tend to escalate any issue they are involved in thus causing a similar reaction. The problem with an unfit, overly hostile officer must also be addressed and the proper action taken.

  12. Katrina

    Excellent! And not one surprise to anyone with common sense. One of the funniest things I read this week was of Baltimore’s Mayor calling in the FBI. To do what? If your washing machine stops working because the plug was pulled and it has no power, do you go buy a new machine? Or give the power to the one you have?

  13. Buckwheat

    Balanced, fair and well-written. Too bad the people who really need to read and take in those truths expressed will not. Sounds like Baltimore will not learn from Detroit’s mistakes. Those who do not learn from history…….

  14. kinggator2

    I agree completely with this article, though would add that when politicians – and it’s not accurate to simply say politicians; it’s Democrat politicians – justify and amplify every hysterical accusation against police, they are acting as the cheer squad for the criminal element. Democrats cheer on hostile groups like BLM, while Republicans remain largely silent for fear of being called racist. And this is what you get.


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