“So the police are blamed for the problem because the police told the crowd gathered to move along,” said James Fitzgerald before a crowd of 100 people on Tuesday.
Fitzgerald was taking part of a meeting between law enforcement officials and the community hosted by the John Birch Society. In his speech, Fitzgerald says more and more there have been instances of people provoking peace officers.
“Well I do evictions and foreclosures and I’ve had to call for backup units more this year than I have in the last 5 years,” said Mobile County Constable Harry Bacchus.
Harry Bacchus a Mobile County Constable says he’s dealt with some of that first hand. And unfortunately recent statistics suggest a potentially less friendly climate towards law enforcement officers. Looking just at the numbers from 2013 to 2014 there was a jump. In 2013 nationwide, there were 27 officers killed. In 2014 51. But going back to the 1970s, the numbers were at times higher. While some focus on numbers, other say law enforcement say what’s changing are attitudes.
“Officers our deputies have seen in some areas, where some people have been a little more derogatory of them and less supportive of them,” said Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran.
Cochran says potentially because of shifting attitudes, it’s making work for deputies even more dangerous. He’s optimistic that if law enforcement and the community work together, things could change for the better.
“While on the other hand some groups are very supportive of the police so the police are caught in the middle of this debate of what’s going on in our criminal justice system,” said Cochran.
“But right our situation is far better than around Michigan, Detroit and some of the other areas that keep having these problems,” said Bacchus.
The Society is concerned if there isn’t more support the federal government could nationalize the police. But they tell us the message they hope to spread — is there are plenty of people who recognize the work of law enforcement.
“Well we really think it’s important to let the law enforcement community know that there are people out here who are really supporting them,” said Tim Marden, John Birch Society.