by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
WANTED: Trained security professionals to deal with elevated levels of crime and mayhem at risk to their own life and limb, while getting called racist oppressors and potentially thrown under the bus by elected officials.
This has become the de facto employment notice for police around the country, and, unsurprisingly, cops and prospective cops don’t find it particularly enticing. Why would they?
America’s cities are feeling the effects of a years-long experiment in what would happen if nearly everyone celebrated a movement based on the idea that police are racist goons — if they excused rioting, explained away spiraling crime, and made it clear to cops that if they make a mistake, they will, at the very least, become instantly infamous.
It hasn’t gone well.
Portland, Ore., has been a veritable research lab for this experiment. The latest blow to the city is the mass resignation of the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team, which is responsible for policing protests in the city — a challenging, endless, and literally thankless job.
Rioting has become part of the fabric of urban life in Portland, where demonstrators have battled with cops nearly every other night since the death of George Floyd.
The city’s leadership has been hapless, at best, in dealing with the chaos, and loud voices have been condemning the cops.
After an officer in the unit was charged with a crime for striking a photographer in the head with a baton after he had pushed her to the ground, the members considered it a last straw.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty kicked them on the way out the door, calling the resignations “yet another example of a rogue paramilitary organization that is unaccountable to the elected officials and residents of Portland.” She didn’t want them to quit but instead to stay on the job so they could be fired.