A US police officer has admitted he is not looking forward to his next few years on the front line and suspects some officers will be afraid to do their jobs amid pressure to “back off”.
The patrol deputy from west-central Illinois, who asked that his real name be withheld, warned a reignited push to do away with bail for high-level offenders, combined with public and political pressure on police to be less aggressive, may lead to a spike in civilian-on-civilian killings.
Speaking out as the anti-police brutality protests over George Floyd’s death sweep the US, Simon (pseudonym) said it’s “quite possible” police will be pressured to “back off” from pursuing aggressive criminal patrol activities.
“A combination of the bail reforms that you’re likely to see after this and the police being less aggressive is going to culminate in more citizen-on-citizen violence on some streets, at least, maybe for the next few years.”
Some officers may be “fearful to go out and do their jobs”, Simon said.
“The amount of hatred that’s going to be levelled at my profession, the amount of suspicion that we’re going to encounter, the loss of trust that’s going to come with this … it’s just going to make our job harder.
“As for the state of the country, I think it’s getting worse as far as political divisiveness, and I don’t see an end in sight for it – and the George Floyd incident isn’t going to help.
“As far as my job goes, in reference to the current unrest compounded by past controversies, I’m not looking forward to the next few years of being a cop.”
What President Donald Trump could do to help, Simon suggested, is to “stop being Donald Trump”.
He urged his fellow officers to find common ground with protesters while quelling the crime wave that has plagued many rallies over Mr Floyd’s death.
Police should do their best to ensure they’re “not making the situation worse with excessive force”.
He said officers should keep their “head on a swivel, hold the line, and stay safe,” while doing their best to bring looters, arsonists, assailants, and other criminals to justice.
Message to protesters
Simon said he, like many other officers across the country, empathise with the anger felt by protesters.
“I have not met a single officer that thinks that it was appropriate for him (Derek Chauvin) to kneel on Mr Floyd’s neck for minutes on end, especially knowing that he had already been secured in handcuffs with three backup officers on scene,” he said.
Simon said he was “appalled” by Chauvin’s actions.
“I’m in the odd position of agreeing with the cause of these protesters where, in the past, I was against most of them.
He urged Americans to stay clear of violence.
“I would ask them to keep their protests peaceful, knowing that many officers, nationwide, empathise with their anger and share it, too.”