THE POLICE ARE NOW THE HUNTED

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The Police are Now the Hunted

The non-stop bashing of police threatens safety. Strides in community policing, and declines in major crime, are also at risk.

It is so bad, so sad, that it is almost more than one can bear.

The brazen assault on America's police officers in Baton Rouge — three officers murdered and three more injured — took place just 10 days after the murders of five officers and the wounding of seven others in Dallas.

The 900,000 men and women who are sworn to protect 320 million Americans are, insanely, now the targets.

It is madness, but not entirely unexpected. In many ways, the writing was on the wall for the last 18 months. The die was cast in Brooklyn on Dec. 20, 2014 when Police Officer Wenjian Liu and Police Officer Rafael Ramos were executed while sitting in their marked radio car. They were murdered by a career criminal poisoned by the corrosive anti-police rhetoric that dominated the airwaves in the wake of the Eric Garner and Michael Brown grand jury decisions. It has been downhill for law enforcement in America since that seminal event.

America's police officers have shifted from the hunter of felons to being hunted by the felons. No one in blue with a gun anywhere in America is safe today; it is a repeat of the Black Liberation Army attacks in the '70s in New York City, but exponentially worse.

I was working the night six officers were shot by Larry Davis in the Bronx in 1986. I never thought it could get worse than that horrible night.

Likewise, when police Officers Christopher Hoban and Michael Buczek were shot and killed, two hours apart, in Manhattan in 1988. Then-Mayor Ed Koch stated at their double funeral, "The social contract in this country has been violated."

The social contract, even with criminals, was that you don't kill cops. Mayor Koch's assessment was accurate in 1988 but now, in 2016, the social contract has been burned and the ashes scattered. Now, instead of just Washington Heights and the Bronx, it is the entire country. America's police officers are being hunted like deer and the hunting season is 365 days. It's a full-blown domestic war on all the men and women in blue.

This war transcends race. It is not a war of black and white. It's a domestic war waged by domestic terrorists against America's police.

The pattern of assaults and murders against democracy will have serious consequences.

Like the irresponsible and incendiary words that helped to start and continue to fuel this war, the consequences will be unpleasant. The continued vilification and dehumanization of America's police has finally reached the tipping point. Criminals and mentally-deranged individuals, often synonymous, have heard what they interpret as a clarion call to arms. The non-stop bashing of the police through inflammatory rhetoric, and the subsequent emboldening of criminals, has created the perfect storm in recent years. America now has a front seat to the viral effect of murderous comments on social media and its first cousin — copycat behavior.

This war, and be clear it is a war, will change policing in America.

Solo patrols are likely to vanish; dual patrols may be inadequate. The calls for the demilitarization of America's police will fall on deaf ears and the opposite — bigger guns, better body armor — will become the norm.

After many years of a gradual shift toward community-based policing and a record-setting decline in major crimes throughout America, these positive gains will be reversed. Police officers will be understandably hyper-alert and rightly paranoid of any and all potential threats. As a result, there will likely be more justified police-related shootings, not fewer, as the killing and attempted killing of cops is becoming normalized. The only line between a civil society and anarchy has been seriously fractured. Every police officer in America has a clear target on his or her back and, as a direct result, they will be paranoid. Despite ongoing firearms training and an ingrained hesitancy to open fire, whether from a legal, administrative or humane reluctance to take a human life, there will be more civilians killed.

Anyone who doesn't think that the police are scared for their lives is seriously delusional. Anyone who doesn't think that the police are being hunted like deer on a range is seriously delusional. And, yet, anyone who doesn't think that America's police will still put on their uniforms and strap on their sadly, inadequate guns every single day and continue to patrol the communities that they have sworn to protect and serve is also seriously delusional. That is why they have been, and always will be, America's unsung heroes.

The writer is a retired NYC detective who founded and is CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants, a private security and investigatory firm headquartered in Manhattan with a satellite office in Bardonia.

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