“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
While not often put as bluntly as the above quote by Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, such sentiments have for decades been standard rhetoric for radicals constantly seeking more power for themselves.
Obama was quick to parlay the recent murders of five Dallas police officers into another attempt to push his agenda to turn state and local police forces into mere subsidiaries of the federal government. “I want to start moving on constructive actions that are actually going to make a difference,” he declared at a press conference in Poland (shown), in response to a question about the killings in Dallas.
Obama referenced a panel he selected to offer “practical concrete solutions that can reduce — if not eliminate — the problems of racial bias” in the aftermath of the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri, stating, “If my voice has been true and positive, my hope would be that ... [the panel identifies] problems, it frames them, it allows us to wrestle with these issues and try to come up with practical solutions."
The panel made its recommendations in the “President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Report,” published in May 2015.
Not surprisingly, the solutions offered can be summed up succinctly: more federal control of the nation’s police. The report calls for more police training and practices, under the direction of the federal government. Methods to advance this goal include federal lawsuits (the stick) and grants (the carrot). Of course, once local governments become dependent upon these grants, the threat of cutting them off can be used to press for changes in policies to comply with federal dictates. With federal money (the bait) comes federal control (the hook).
So far, 30 police jurisdictions have adopted federal rules through the use of federal lawsuits.
A close examination of the Task Force’s “recommendations” reveals that the solutions are, as usual, more federal control. The report asserts, “Trust between law enforcement agencies and the People they protect is essential in a democracy.” This statement reveals the bias of the Task Force. First, no concern is expressed in the report about any problems with federal law-enforcement agencies. While it is certainly true that local police departments, like all government agencies, are not perfect, none has ever committed any action on the scale of the FBI’s 1993 unprovoked attack on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of scores of people, including children.
Second, the U.S. Constitution guarantees to every state a republican form of government, yet the report calls our form of government a “democracy.” A republic is the rule of law, in which the purpose of government is to protect the life, liberty, and property of the people. A democracy, on the other hand, is the rule of the majority, which is designed to carry out the will of the majority, without regard for liberty.
The report also offered “two overarching recommendations: the President should support the creation of a National Crime and Justice Task Force to examine all areas of criminal justice and propose reforms.”
What are some of these reforms? The Task Force suggested that “Law enforcement agencies should strive to create a workforce that encompasses a broad range of diversity including race, gender, language, life experience, and cultural background to improve understanding and effectiveness in dealing with all communities.” This implies that local police departments presently do not understand “cultural” differences within their communities, and that all wisdom emanates from inside the Beltway. This is an attempt to substitute the judgment of federal bureaucrats for that of officials in local communities.
And, as has been the goal of the Left since at least the 1930s, the report calls for the establishment of “civilian oversight mechanisms” within the local communities. This is a reference to “civilian review boards,” which would probably be taken over by anti-police progressives and used to further undermine the work of local police departments. There are already multiple checks in place to deal with misbehavior by police, but those do not advance the agenda of the Left.
As noted previously in The New American,
The campaign for establishing “civilian review boards” has been underway since the 1930s — when it was launched by the Communist Party. The term “civilian review” is deceptively appealing, and we already have it in the form of civilian officials elected by the people and other civilian appointees and institutions established under state constitutions and county/city charters: state and county grand juries, county commissions, city councils, mayors, county sheriffs, etc. The Communist Party and its fellow travelers intended to undermine this constitutional civilian process by inserting over police and sheriffs an unelected board of activists (whom they intend to control). Unfortunately, this subversive program has now been instituted in more than 100 U.S. cities.
The report’s often benign language disguises its more malevolent intent. In another place in the report, it is recommended that the federal government “assist” law enforcement:
To assist law enforcement and the community to achieve the elements of pillar two [Policy and Oversight], the U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office] and Office of Justice Programs (OJP), should provide technical assistance and incentive funding to jurisdictions with small police agencies that take steps toward interagency collaboration, shared services, and regional training.
In other words, if a smaller police department will do as they are told by the federal government, they will receive “incentive funding.” Among the examples offered of this submission are taking “steps toward interagency collaboration, shared services, and regional training.” This is actually a call for an end to the independence of the local police departments. While each police department would continue to be named for the local community (at least for now), it would really be the U.S. Police Department.
Does anyone really believe it would be easier to deal with a federal police department than a local one? And furthermore, would such centralization of police functions stop at the national level?
The report added, "They [the local police departments] should also partner with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) ... with the goal of covering all agencies within the United States and its territories."
According to its website, IADLEST is an international organization of training managers and executives dedicated to the improvement of public safety personnel. Their law-enforcement education program was "the first significant infusion of federal funds."
Notice that this so-called partnership does not envision just "small" police departments, but rather "all" agencies within the country.
Training and education is a critical part of the plan to federalize the police force. The IADLEST website continues, "To further assist the training and educational needs of law enforcement, the Federal Government should support the development of partnerships with training facilities across the country to promote consistent standards for high quality training and establish training innovation hubs involving university and police academies." And this training should follow a "standardized" curriculum.
This is quite similar to the use of Common Core “standards” to build a national “standardized curriculum” in the public schools. In public schools, much attention is understandably focused on the content of the “standards” the schools are expected to follow. Many conservatives decry the progressive agenda pushed with these standards. But the fundamental problems with the education standards is not so much the content — the “social studies” standards could be written by James Madison and George Washington and they would still be wrong — but that they are transferring control to the federal government, away from the states, in contradiction to our federal system. One must realize that once the premise is accepted that standards should be set nationally, control is national. Madison, for example, might write good standards, but those standards could then be changed later by progressives — who never give up in their efforts to move the country to the Left.
Applying this principle to “standards” for training and education for local and state police, we must remember that it is simply not the function of the federal government to set such standards. If the federal government sets the standards, we have created a federal police force. The sad and brutal history of nationalized police forces — the Cheka in the Soviet Union, and the Gestapo in National Socialist Germany — comes to mind.
So, whether it is a shooting of a citizen by a police officer, or the shooting of a police officer by a citizen, everything is an excuse to increase the control of the federal government over policing, in contradiction of the 10th Amendment, which makes most law enforcement a “reserved power” of the states and local governments.
It is difficult to imagine why someone who favors limited government would want a national police force. This is why the “Support Your Local Police” campaign of The John Birch Society includes the phrase, “and keep them independent." We must keep the police independent of the federal government!
Photo: AP Images