After years of being marginalized as the nutcase enemies of the police, the far left and far right are now converging with a brand-new scheme.
Across the country comes the various “right on crime” and “smart on crime” initiatives that have at their core a sweeping plan to neuter law enforcement.
After failing at successfully bringing for-profit prisons and jails to the mainstream, the same crowd now aims to tear down the structure and bring your arrest powers, the number of police, the equipment you use, your job and your pension all down in one fell swoop.
Remember a short time ago the businesses that pushed for a massive overhaul of the criminal code? Changes to juvenile code, enhancements of federal immigration law?
These movements spurred a massive buildup of private, for-profit prisons and county jails. As time has gone by the political tides have turned and public distrusts for profiteering in prisons has become less appealing. Also the raw scandals behind many of the prisons have come to light.
Now that it’s clear that the criminal justice system will never be a long term profitable venture — the bottom feeders and vultures have moved on torward finding new money.
They are now eyeing the costs of law enforcement, calling for a wholesale reduction of criminal penalties. This thinly disguised attack on law enforcement is a political game changer in that it is an bad idea wrapped in reasonableness. The sneakiest of the sneak plays.
The powerful people who helped lure millions to this country to lower labor costs have decided to send them home. The people who bankrolled the private jail industry now want the money from public safety budgets in your city, your county diverted away.
They also look at your pension, your retirement, your health care benefits and now believe you’re your benefit package is too rich and needs to be destroyed.
Open insults from the public regarding your risk, your sacrifice, your service to your community are just part of the overall new norm. Claiming that the police mentality in this country is anti-minority, becoming militarized are new tools in the public relations arsenal to switch you from “good guy who risks all to protect and serve” to “testosterone-pumped racist with anger issues.”
Claiming that your job is not all that dangerous after all combined with the massive plan to decriminalize makes the current political climate very volatile.
The demographics of Texas are experiencing a hyper explosion.
People from across the globe are pouring in to Texas and with very different attitudes toward basic issues connected to law enforcement.
It’s clear that your profession, your rights and you as an officer are now under full scale attack.
You have to be more discerning than ever in your political connections as an officer, union member and citizen.
This next statewide election is very important and the next legislative session in Austin is of even more importance.
That’s why we have developed a brand-new legislative strategy that will be unveiled to members and local union leaders at our biennial workshop held in conjunction with our convention in November in San Antonio.
Changing political conditions deserve new strategies and tactics. We’ll be ready.
Charley Wilkison is the executive director of CLEAT.