Media Attempts to Invalidate ‘Defund the Police’ by Pointing to Rising Police Salaries
Democrats and corporate media are scrambling to distance themselves from the “defund the police” movement. An op-ed in the Boston Globe on Wednesday went as far as calling it “political poison.”
Now, some politicians, including the Biden Administration, are shifting crime wave blame onto Republicans by falsely accusing them of defunding the police. Anarticle written by a sociology professor and former police officer went as far as claiming that police are actually being funded more — not less.
“Defund the police? Actually, police salaries are rising in departments across the United States,” reads the title of the Conversation commentary piece. The article was posted by the non-profit publisher and shared by Yahoo News and U.S. News and World Report on Tuesday.
Laurie Woods, who is a senior lecturer in sociology at Vanderbilt University, made some valid points backed up by facts: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data does forecast a 5 percent increase in police jobs between 2019 to 2029, and salaries have been going up in departments around the country.
But she doesn’t fill in crucial context needed to understand why pay increases are not necessarily an indicator that departments are in good shape — especially following “reallocation efforts.”
Woods’ commentary can be met with a term familiar to anyone who has taken economics 101. Less supply, more demand. More supply, less demand. If a supply of willing applicants does not exist, then demand (AKA wages) increase. This concept can be seen in real-world applications as officers around the country flee to other occupations or retire.
As Breitbart News previously reported:
The survey of roughly 200 police departments revealed that retirements were “up 45 percent and resignations rose by 18 percent in the year from April 2020 to April 2021 when compared with the previous 12 months, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington policy institute,” as reported by the New York Times.
For example, New York City saw 2,600 retirees compared to the previous year’s 1,509 after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio slashed $1 billion in funding and dismantled task forces specifically created to fight violent crime. Minneapolis dipped from 912 uniformed officers to 699, and the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina lost over one-third of its force as well.
Many cities that voted to defund the police are walking back their plans, as violent crime surges around the country, Breitbart News reported. Now, departments crippled by the ‘defund the police’ agenda are trying to hire more officers to combat rising crime around the country. Recruitment has become a challenge of its own since leftists began casting the occupation as systemically racist.
“They said that we have become the bad guys, and we did not get into this to become the bad guys,” Asheville Police Department Chief David Zack told the New York Times, referring to the protests, many of which were targeted toward cops:
Recruitment all over the country,given negative attitudes toward the police, has also become a slog, prompting Asheville to approve a modest salary increase. It takes roughly a year to train new officers in Asheville, and of seven who started in December, six have already quit, Chief Zack said. (emphasis added)
When considering the 5 percent increase in police jobs projected by the BLS, one has to consider how much of that increase will be due to departments frenetically hiring more officers to combat surging crime.
For example, NYC Mayor de Blasio already plans to “reinstate $92 million to build a new precinct cut from the budget last year” as shootings in the city increase exponentially. The same is happening in other blue cities, such as Baltimore, where Mayor Brandon Scott, who advocated for slashing the police budget, is now proposing increases, Breitbart News reported
Woods also talked about overtime payment in her commentary as “one of the factors that can drive an officer’s yearly income even higher.”
“Across the country, police officers typically receive “time and a half” for every hour worked beyond the standard 40-hour week, meaning a pay rate that combines their regular hourly rate plus an additional 50 percent,” she wrote.
She gave a real-world example, noting that demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death “cost New York City $115 million in overtime during one two-week period, while Seattle paid $6.3 million during the first 12 days of protests.”
But with fewer officers on the force, it makes sense that the few officers left would work extra overtime during a period of civil unrest — leading to a salary increase.
Overall, salary boosts are most likely a bargaining chip, given the fact that anyone who takes on the job risks being a scapegoat for the political- left indefinitely. Having a country full of underfunded departments which have fewer, albeit better-paid officers does not seem like a true victory for the men and women in blue, or for the people they swore to protect.