Thousands of police officers have been laid off all across America since the current economic crisis began. Thousands more are getting ready to be laid off. So could we be on the verge of a new era of chaos and anarchy in America as crime runs wild and there are just far too few police to respond to it all? That is the message that one blood-smeared billboard in Stockton, California is trying to get across.
Paid for by the Stockton, California police union, the message of the billboard is chillingly clear: "Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops." As state, city and local governments across the United States continue to be devastated by the ongoing economic crisis, budget cuts are becoming much deeper and police forces have suddenly become a very popular target.
Officer Steve Leonesio, the president of the Stockton Police Officers Association, has announced that the police union plans to spend approximately $20,000 on at least 20 more billboards.
Why is the union putting up all of these billboards?
Well, it turns out that Stockton has been considering a plan to lay off 53 police officers in an effort to eliminate a $23 million budget deficit.
But law enforcement in Stockton has already been cut to the bone. Recently, the Stockton Police Department dropped this bombshell....
"We absolutely do not have any narcotics officers, narcotics sergeants working any kind of investigative narcotics type cases at this point in time."
Do you think drug dealers will be flocking to Stockton after they hear that?
But the truth is that so many of these local governments around the nation are just flat broke at this point.
Even major cities are having to admit that they have accumulated such large debts that they cannot even afford to provide the most basic services any longer.
In Oakland, California the battle over police layoffs has made national headlines over the past couple of weeks. Oakland has laid off 80 police officers, and now the police chief says that there are some crimes that his department simply will not be able to respond to.
In fact, Chief Anthony Batts has compiled a list of exactly 44 situations, including grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism, that his officers will not be available to handle any longer.
What in the world?
Once upon a time in America you could get a police officer to come out for just about anything - including for getting a cat down out of a tree.
But those days are long gone.
Today it is very hard to get a police officer to come out for anything short of murder.
The following is a partial list of crimes that police officers in Oakland will no longer be responding to....
grand theft: dog
false information to peace officer
required to register as sex or arson offender
dump waste or offensive matter
discard appliance with lock
possess forged notes
pass fictitious check
obtain money by false voucher
fraudulent use of access cards
stolen license plate
embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
false personification of other
injure telephone/power line
interfere with power line
unauthorized cable tv connection
Not that Oakland wasn't already a mess, but now how long do you think it will be before total chaos and anarchy reigns on the streets of Oakland?
But Oakland is far from alone.
The sheriff's department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.
So what are the citizens of that county supposed to do to protect themselves?
Well, when asked about what they should do, Judge Alfred Mackey gave this stunning piece of advice....
So is that what we are left with?
Is American society degenerating into a "Road Warrior-style" wasteland where we are all left to fend for ourselves?
It gets really frightening when you start considering just how many police are actually being laid off across the United States....
*Acting State Police director Jonathon Monken has announced that the Illinois State Police will lay off more than 460 troopers and close five regional headquarters by this fall.
*Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford has proposed a plan to lay off 40 police officers.
*The police department in Vallejo, California will temporarily suspend its K-9 and SWAT programs at the end of the month in a move to delay officer layoffs.
*Last year, 18 special police units in Toledo, Ohio - including the gang task force and the mounted patrol - were eliminated or downsized in an effort to replace the 130 patrol officers who were laid off because of a $20.7 million budget deficit.
*Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen's union canvassed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.
*Four police officers in one town in New Jersey were greeted at work this past Monday morning with notices informing them that they will be laid off on August 31st.
*Police in Phoenix, Arizona have been told that more than 400 officers could be impacted by layoffs if "the worst case scenario" plays out.
*Police and firefighters in Flint, Michigan decided that layoffs were preferable to taking a 15 percent pay and benefits cut.
*The city of Maywood, California laid off all 68 of its employees July 1st and is now "contracting out" police services.
*In Colorado Springs, dozens of police positions are going unfilled and the police helicopters were put up for sale on the Internet.
The sad thing is that as local police forces across America are being stripped down or dismantled, many communities are opening their arms wide to increased federal law enforcement "assistance".
In recent years, we have seen a large number of examples where the U.S. military is being used for domestic law enforcement, which is supposed to be against the law. In addition, federal government agencies are increasingly taking over the financing, training and even command of local police.
But is this "federalization" of local law enforcement a good thing?
Of course not.
Unfortunately we live at a time when almost everything is being centralized under federal government control. Of course this is completely contrary to everything that our founders intended, but most of our "officials" don't seem too concerned about actually following the Constitution these days.
TheEconomicCollapse blog 07/16/2010