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Don’t defund police; retrain people to comply

Do you know what stands between us, the law-abiding, peace-loving, God-fearing citizens of Natchez and street thugs, violence, chaos and anarchy? It’s “The Thin Blue Line.” A term for the police and all law enforcement officers that is used to assert that they are the “line” which keeps society from descending into violent chaos. The term was derived from “The Thin Red Line,” a formation used by the Scottish Highlanders, dressed in red, during the Crimean War of 1854 to hold off a charge by the Russian cavalry.

The Thin Blue Line is made up of America’s finest law enforcement officers, Special Task Force Units, SWAT Teams and Special Narcotics Units. All designed to maintain the orderly, peaceful and tranquil society we live in today. Without them, we will have ugly, terrible scenes of rioting, burning, looting and violence like Portland, Oregon, New York City and Chicago. Sadly, it’s the weak Liberal mayors of those aforementioned cities that are using the very unfortunate death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as a platform to catapult their own agendas. So what do these mayors of the riot-torn cities of Portland, New York, Chicago and other Liberal cities, propose as a cure for the death of George Floyd?

It’s the most unbelievably stupid idea ever suggested! It’s called “Defund the Police!” Yeah! Less money, will make law enforcement, do right! That’s the answer. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to take $1 billion from the city’s police budget and create more feel-good programs instead. Portland’s mayor wants to do away with the police and replace them with inept, ill-equipped social workers. The Portland mayor also wants to keep out federal agents, who maintain law and order. Ironically, Chicago’s Black Lives Matter wants to take money from the city’s police budget and give it to the people of Chicago, amidst Chicago’s record-breaking murder/crime rate of 1,960 shootings, resulting in 423 deaths this year. Seventy-nine shootings and 15 deaths over the Fourth of July weekend alone. Including a little 7-year-old girl. The AP Wire Service reported the vast majority of the shootings are sadly, black-on-black crimes.

Rather than taking law enforcement money and crippling “The Thin Blue Line,” the major defense against street thugs and violence, here’s what former Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, a highly astute professional, 24-year career black man David Clarke commented recently. “It’s not the police who need to be retrained, it’s the public. We have grown into a mouthy, mobile phone wielding, vulgar, uncivil society with no personal responsibility and the attitude of “it’s the other person’s fault.” When an officer says, ‘Put your hands up!’ Don’t reach for something in your pocket, your lap or your seat. There are plenty of reasons for a police officer to feel threatened. There have been multiple assaults and ambushes on Police Officers lately. Comply with the request from the officer and have your day in court. Don’t mouth off, or fight, or refuse to comply…that escalates the situation.” 

Just 1 week ago in Natchez at the Steckler Building, student-athletes listened to a panel of 5 professionals talk about social justice and injustice issues and how to interact with law enforcement and leadership. Their sentiments mirrored some of those of Clarke’s. District Attorney Shameca Collins said, ”law enforcement officers are just like you and sometimes have good days and bad days. If you show the police officer respect, then you will survive. There is no reason to argue with them.”

Another professional who spoke was Melvin Davis Jr. director of safety and security at Natchez High School. Davis has been in law enforcement since 2013. Davis said in regards to being pulled over by a police officer. “Keep your hands visible, tell the officer what you are reaching for and tell the officer about weapons in the car. If you do that, the officer will be comfortable.”

All of these comments and suggestions by Sheriff David Clarke and the panelist are great common sense directives that every person should adhere to and use all over this country. There is no need to even suggest something idiotic, insane and absurd like “Defund the Police.” I agree with former Sheriff David Clarke.

It’s not the police that needs to be retrained. It’s the public! Blue Lives Matter!

Henry Watts is a resident of Natchez.

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