Police departments face a recruiting shortage amid a growing anti-cop mood that some fear has taken the pride out of peacekeeping and put targets on the backs of the men and women in blue.
Open calls for the killing of police have been followed by assassinations, including last week’s murder in Texas of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy. Instead of dialing back the incendiary rhetoric, groups including “Black Lives Matter” have instead doubled down at demonstrations with chants of “Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon.” Public safety officials fear the net effect has been to demonize police, and diminish the job.
“It’s a lot harder to sell now,” Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and former state representative, told FoxNews.com. “This is a very real phenomenon.”
Roorda’s colleagues witnessed the fierce, anti-police rioting that followed the police shooting last year of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson, Missouri. Even though a grand jury and a federal Justice Department inquiry did not fault Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, debunked claims that the cop killed Brown as he held his hands up and begged for his life have animated the Black Lives Matter movement as it spread around the nation.
Roorda, who spoke in defense of police in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting, said protesters took to Twitter to promote a #KillRoorda hashtag.
“You no longer just have to worry about your life while in uniform,” he said. “Now you have to be worried about the well-being of your family,” he said.
Who could have seen this coming?