Law Enforcement Officers: An Endangered Species

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​Across our great country, the American people have always stepped up to protect those species that are threatened because they know it is not right to let anything be lost forever, whether you like the animal that is endangered or not. Well, over the years, I’ve seen a huge push to rid our country of police officers and it’s sad to say, “It’s Working!” Large cities are “Defunding the Police” and then they see serious crime go way up and for some unknown reason they are “Surprised!” (Duh!) This is also happening in other states and even in Dorchester County and other counties and cities across the State of Maryland. ​Since 2005 the City of Cambridge has been losing officers and has had a turn-over of well over 150% of its officers costing the City of Cambridge millions of dollars in recruiting and training new officers who then also leave within five years or so to find better jobs with another department. Nearly 55% of the department has five years or less of service. If you live in Cambridge, you know this to be true because you have seen these officers and you don’t know them because they are all new. This has been because of no pay raises for most of that time, so that the budget could be balanced. The department has even seen its sergeants leave. It’s pretty bad when a sergeant who should be making enough money that he could not afford to leave, but they are, and they are going to jobs that they get better pay even starting at the bottom. There is a new ray of hope with the entirely newly elected Mayor and City Council for the city. This disaster has been dropped in their laps, but they have been listening to the police chief, its officers and our organization and really want to fix the problems but it will not be easy. We are hopeful that they can come up with what is needed to stop the bleeding of our officers from that department because the numbers of officers are down nearly 30% of what the department had almost 20 years ago. ​The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office has also seen a huge lack of support for its deputies. The sheriff sent a letter to the Dorchester County Council on March 1 in regard to this and the fact that they are not receiving any pay raises. One Councilman even stated that he saw no need to give them raises until they start leaving their jobs! The County Council has given raises to its Correction Officers, 911 Dispatchers and EMS and those raises are well deserved but it is refusing to do so for the deputies. The pay scale for the Sheriff’s Office has not seen an increase or change since 2004 and like the Cambridge Police Department, these officers and deputies are some of the lowest paid on the Eastern Shore of Maryland if not the entire state. I will make the statement that at least the Hurlock Police Department is being taken care of by their Chief and the Mayor and City Council. ​Currently up in Annapolis, the vast majority of the politicians are working on passing laws that take away the due process rights of law enforcement officers. They are voting to make it easy to fire, fine, take away their pensions and imprison officers and open up their personnel files so that everything can be used against the officer, even if these records are of unfounded complaints by persons who have mental illnesses or by criminals attempting to have their charges dropped or reduced. The persons that will be using this information will put it online to embarrass or shame officers if they can in front of their family and friends and of course they won’t put that the complaint was false or unfounded and that the officer was innocent. Some of these new laws can even get an officer killed easier because the officers will be afraid to act in self defense until it’s too late. They are also thinking of making it so that officers can be sued for anything and everything no matter how small or frivolous. The other really sad part is that these politicians say they don’t want to do this but are afraid it will cost them being re-elected next election so they feel that they have to do it to keep their jobs. I also have spoken with numerous local officers who are taking classes for another field of employment and those who have other trades or can retire will also leave. Recruitment of officers across the country is also down maybe 80% or more. ​So, what can we all do? Well, call or write your State Senators, your State Delegates, your Mayors and City Councils and your County Councils. Tell them to support your Troopers, Officers and Deputies before it’s too late.

No one wants to call 911 and be told that they are going to be put on hold while the dispatcher tries to find an officer for them to respond to their call for help and that there might be a delay. It’s up to every citizen to now come to the aid of their law enforcement officers before they begin to disappear from our streets. ​To learn more, go to “keepmarylandsafe.com” and see what more you can do. Thomas R. Hurley, President Fraternal Order of Police, Cambridge-Dorchester Lodge #27

American murder Another case of mass murder in America. Porous gun regulation and a deranged view by right-wing extremists that new gun regulations will take away their “freedoms”. During the Revolutionary War the British confiscated firearms from the colonists and banned ownership. After our Revolutionary War victory over the British, the right to keep and bear arms was restored and enshrined, not surprising after the David and Goliath struggle for our independence, a post-revolutionary fledgling nation worried about its very survival. Fast forward from the 18th to the 21st century. We are now in a far different place. Mass murders in England in the 1960s resulted in updated gun laws. At that same time, in the US, one could order a handgun from the Sears catalog and have it delivered by mail to their home. In the 1960s, we lost JFK, MLK, and Robert Kennedy, and we did mostly nothing. Most ordinary victims die with far less notice. Now the “Trumpublican” whack jobs will call these latest murders as “fake,” the dead are “crisis actors,” and this is all an attempt to pass new gun laws. America does not need to enable gun toting nut jobs. America needs common-sense, gun-control laws. And if it means repealing and replacing the Second Amendment, then so be it. Our citizens have bled enough! James H. Slacum Hurlock