Earlier this week, Congressman Michael Guest (MS-03) joined a round table discussion with other Members of the American Security Task Force and law enforcement leaders. The group discussed the current state of policing in America and what can be done at the federal level to improve public safety and support front line officers.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced the creation of the American Security Task Force earlier this year, focused on solutions to secure our borders, protect the nation against cyber attacks, and support the men and women in law enforcement.
The group discussed a number of issues facing the law enforcement community:
- Rising Crime: In 2020, the U.S. experienced the largest rise in murder since the FBI began keeping track in 1960. Murders increased by 30% nationally and 35% in cities with more than 250,000 people. Understaffed police forces are completely overwhelmed and struggling to keep up with the surge in violent crime.
- Progressive Prosecutors: Officers need district attorneys (DAs) to follow through and prosecute the criminals they arrest. Too often progressive prosecutors try to play politics and push their own interests rather than the best interests of the communities they have sworn to serve.
- Bail Reform: Bail reform laws are having a disastrous impact on communities. We need to keep violent criminals behind bars and push back on dangerous trends at the state and federal level that threaten to jeopardize public safety.
- Recruitment & Retention: Law enforcement officers are facing some of the toughest working conditions in years. Many are opting to take early retirement or pursue other careers due to the difficult nature of the job and lack of public support. Retirements nationwide were up by 45% and resignations by 18% in the 12-month period that ended in April 2021.
- Mental Health: The anti-police environment is taking a toll on officers. “Morale is at rock bottom,” said one roundtable participant. More resources are needed to provide mental health support to officers.
- Border Crisis: The crisis at the southern border is fueling the crime crisis in numerous states, cities, and counties. With thousands of unvetted illegal migrants being transported to states across the nation in the dark of night by the Biden administration with no way to track them, every state truly is now a border state and feeling the impacts.