You would think that in the midst of a deadly pandemic, which has claimed more than 2,743 lives to date in Virginia while wrecking the state’s economy, that lawmakers in the Commonwealth would be hyper-focused on the crisis at hand. Specifically, advancing legislation to help those families and small businesses across Virginia that have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
Well think again. The priority focus of majority Democrats, and Governor Ralph Northam, in recent days has been on ramming anti-police legislation through the General Assembly.
That’s right. The Democratic-controlled House and Senate has embraced the foolhardy push of the far, radical left, to dismantle, defund and demoralize the police. Sure, Northam and his fellow Democrats may not be using the actual words “defund the police,” but they don’t have to. Their actions speak clearly.
In recent days, Virginia Democrats have advanced legislation that would:
• Decrease funding for state and local law enforcement.
• Make it easier for citizens to sue police officers, a move that will make it more difficult for the brave men and women in uniform to do their jobs without being exposed to civil liability.
• Make the charge of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer a non-felony offense.
• Eliminate qualified immunity for police officers.
• Mandate the creation of civilian police review boards.
• Prohibit the acquisition of military surplus equipment by law enforcement officers.
• Mandate that all law enforcement agencies use body cameras while also earmarking no state funding for the purchase of this expensive surveillance equipment.
It also should be noted that while Virginia Democrats work to defund and demoralize the brave men and women of law enforcement, they also are advancing legislation that empowers convicted felons.
One such bill introduced by Virginia Democrats would automatically expunge some felony convictions after only eight years of good behavior, including for those individuals charged with felony drug offenses.
Oh, and don’t forget, Northam authorized the early release of thousands of inmates earlier this year under the guise of the pandemic, including hardened criminals, murderers and sex offenders.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP) joined with the Virginia Sheriffs Association, the Virginia State Police Association and the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police last week in correctly condemning these anti-police measures embraced by Virginia Democrats.
“Efforts to eliminate qualified immunity, decrease funding for state and local law enforcement and ‘defelonizing’ assault and battery on a law enforcement officer will do nothing but erode our ability to effectively provide public safety services,” VACP President Chief Howard Hall said. “Many of the proposed police reforms will do nothing to protect victims or reduce crime.”
“It has been extremely disappointing to see most of these legislative proposals developed with little or no input from Virginia law enforcement,” Herndon Chief and VACP 1st Vice President Maggie DeBoard, added. “We provided a detail document of proposals to the governor and General Assembly in June and have reached out to legislators throughout this special session. Only a handful of legislators really worked with us, but an overwhelming number had little interest in hearing our concerns.”
“The vast majority of Virginia police officers are dedicated public servants who want to serve and protect their communities,” VACP Executive Director Dana Schrad added. “Tragically, we expect to see many officers leave policing and very few new applicants. The General Assembly won’t have to defund our agencies if our people walk away from public service.”
We agree. These ill-advised bills have no business being introduced in the General Assembly, and especially not now during a pandemic.
Unlike Virginia Democrats, we stand with and proudly support our law enforcement officers.
Fortunately, our region is blessed to have law enforcement agencies with officers who are always ready to serve. These brave men and women choose to help their communities despite low pay, long hours, night duty and dangerous situations. They handle difficult and heartbreaking calls that few people outside of the law enforcement profession truly understand until they experience such an incident for themselves.
Shame on Ralph Northam and the Virginia Democrats for attacking our brave law enforcement officers!
The hypocrisy of your actions is clear to voters across the state.
Once you defund the police, who do you think will respond when you call 911 to report an emergency in your home or neighborhood?
Leave the police alone and stop defending murderers, rapists and drug dealers.
Voters across the still great Commonwealth of Virginia should start making plans now to defund these radical, far-left lawmakers at the polls come November 2021. That’s the only way we are going to bring an end to this lunacy.