Democrats pass bill that supports police, but who really benefits?

After many weeks of "would they or won't they," it looks as though Democrats (and the few Republicans who stood with them) have finally caved in and approved a new bill for the police.

Passed last Wednesday, four bills now head to the Senate, where they will likely make traction.  And there's a reason for that — because it seems as if these Democrats will also benefit from these bills, along with the officers that they've suddenly sworn to protect.

The package includes funding to help recruit and train police departments so they aren't so woefully understaffed (especially with growing crime rates in major cities like Portland and Seattle), along with addressing mental health crises (and assigning particular agents in the place of police officers to de-escalate situations) and a focus on community violence prevention.  There's also some funding to be put toward resolving "cold cases," particularly those surrounding violent means.

It all sounds well and good, but this leaves a number of unanswered questions.

The first is...just how long will this funding last?  The bills are on their way to Senate to "stop the bleeding," as it were, but is this long-term patching up of damage done with the "Defund the Police" campaign (which, by the way, so many Democrats supported back in 2020), or is it merely a Band-Aid until the wound "goes away"?

This is a concern to me because police officers need that long-term support.  Continuous training to do their job effectively.  Continuous support with mental health professionals so they don't become discouraged as so many have been over the past couple of years.  Doing a temporary funding thing doesn't entirely work, because what's to stop this situation from escalating again?  Then we're right back to square one, creating new bills.

That's not all.  The politicians involved with pushing through these bills likely asked the question, "What's in it for us?"  And I can't help but look at two key categories here.

The first is obviously money.  What funding can come back for certain programs run by these Democrats and their supporters?  These bills have details that break down what they do for officers but little to explain what's given in return.  I can't help but wonder if some will use this for a personal initiative to get something back, all for trying to lend officers their support.

But really, this comes down to another key factor: positive attention.  Elections for Congress seats are set to take place in just a few months, and voicing your support for the police (even after things you might have said in the past) looks good in the eyes of the voters.

More than likely, these Democrats probably found a way to draft a bill benefiting both themselves and the officers, while, at the same time, shining them in a positive light.  "Look, we support police officers too!" they're saying to any press outlet that will listen.  And to think, just months prior, they were shouting the exact opposite, in the hopes of keeping their ratings positive.

I am glad that the police are finally getting attention after what feels like an eternity trying to get it.  But how many officers did we lose as a result, either from retirement or suicide?  And, for that matter, how are they going to be taken care of in the long run?  These are the questions I want answers to.

Hopefully, as these bills pass through the Senate for final approval (with Joe Biden's signature following closely behind), these details will come to light.  That's a big "if" to throw out there, but I think it would be noteworthy to see what finally pushed these Democrats to give the police a thumbs-up.

Maybe it was the growing crime rates within these cities.  Or maybe it's the people wondering why they were balking at approving the police bills beforehand, especially in the wake of said criminal activity.

We may never know.  But I'll tell you this: whatever support comes, I hope it's in the best way possible.  Our dedicated officers deserve it more than any politician that has ever put pen to paper. 

Michael Letts is the founder, president, and CEO of InVest USA, a national grassroots non-profit organization that is helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.  He also has over 30 years of law enforcement experience, hence his pro-police stance for his brothers and sisters in blue.  Those interested in learning more about Letts can visit his official website.

Image: Tony Webster via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).

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