Law enforcement under attack. This week in Colorado, police released a video of Ronald Troke, the man who chased down and killed Denver Police Officer Gordon Beesley, on Monday, along with chilling excerpts from a letter written by the shooter saying, quote, My goal today is to kill Arvada PD officers. Meanwhile, in Florida, after a widespread man Hunt, police captured Ortho Wallace suspect accused in the shooting of Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Reiner. Reiner was shot in the head and remains in the hospital in critical condition. According to the reports, the shooter may have ties to a black militia group.
Now, homicides in many major American cities have also skyrocketed year to date. Portland homicides are up 533%. Albuquerque 131%. Los Angeles County has seen a 111% increase in Oakland is more than 82%. So for more on this, we’re going to bring in former Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Thank you so much for being with us and good afternoon. So as you have this rising crime, you also have a rise in police retirements and resignation. Over the course of last year, New York City had a massive exodus.
Chicago retirements were up 15% in 2,020 compared to the year prior. How do you recruit and retain officers when you’ve got this sharp rise in crime, compounding the challenge of staffing?
I think all of those issues are magnified by what basically been an unrelenting campaign to delegitimize, stigmatize and dehumanize America’s police officers. I think a climate has been created in which the deranged as well as the career criminal, well armed, feel emboldened to engage their desires to basically assassinate police officers. As you’ve seen in Arvada and Fort Lauderdale nationally, I think it’s no surprise that generally criminals are embolden when police legitimacy has been undermined in city after city as well as the agencies have been under staffed, that they feel that their streets, not streets that are available to the average citizens.
So it’s an extraordinarily difficult set of circumstances, and it’s very difficult to attract recruits to what is, by any definition, a dangerous and difficult job. It’s difficult to attract recruits when they feel as though by accepting the badge and wearing it, they’ll be vilified in the popular press. So it’s a tough time.
Pretty broad sentiment that this political climate, the social climate, it’s basically a Tinder box. One incident could spark a summer like we had last year. How do you think the Biden administration should respond as city mayors are expressing this fear that they’ve got really few options on how to regain control in their cities and curb the surge in crime?
Well, I think it’s important for this administration to pay attention to its base, which was those people who live in cities that are vulnerable as potential victims of violence. I mean, the most victimized community in America is the African American community. In central cities, they suffer terrible homicide rates. And I think given the fact that those mayors are Democratic cities, not that I think that any President would care about the party of the Mayor, but I think the fact that they are a core constituency and they are very vulnerable should encourage the administration to continue making investments in quality criminal Justice.
I know they’ve made some moves recently that may be helpful in terms of spending some money for police hiring, but I think they need to reinforce some of the programs they’ve had for years that have transcended administrations and help the cities as rapidly as they can.
Because time is wasting in administration said effectively with announcements over the last week, part of the solution to this is more gun control. What’s your take on that?
Well, it’s a variable. I mean, it’s certainly not an immediate solution, because today somebody’s going to get murdered with a gun that’s already out there. There’s 340,000,000 firearms on the streets of America. Last I heard, we had more firearms than Americans. Certainly it’s an approach that is not harmful to crime control, and the long term might be helpful. But right now, we’ve got a serious problem with the guns that are already out there in the hands of their own people who are not shy about using them.
And I think that’s what we’ve got to focus on.
One last question for you, police reform talks on Capitol Hill. The fraternal order of Police is involved in these talks, but there’s a big concern that rank and file officers are skeptical Washington can solve this. Yes or no. Do you think it’s possible to get around that on the Hill?
Well, I think they’re going to have to get around the qualified immunity issue, which I think has been grossly badly oversimplified by those who pretend the police departments aren’t already being sued. So I think that’s got to be disposed of.
Evelyn, thank you so much for being with us. We’ve run out of time. I appreciate it. Okay.