(NewsNation) — It has been a tumultuous few years for police officers in America. National scandals have rocked departments and America’s perception of police as media coverage and the public eye have grown more keen on watching police.
Movements such as “defund the police” and a mass exodus of officers from the profession have changed the way policing happens in the United States.
A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll showed 67% of Americans viewed police favorable and 24% viewed them unfavorably.
“So what’s behind this disconnect? Why are police so reviled in the media, despite being so revered by the public?” asks NewsNation’s Dan Abrams on “Dan Abrams Live.”
Abrams explored the topic of policing in America and how the scrutiny police have come under, both fairly and unfairly at times, have changed the dynamics of officer’s relationships with their communities and how it has changed their jobs.
Veteran CBS journalist Bernard Goldberg and former Aurora, Ill. Police Chief Kristen Ziman joined “Dan Abrams Live” to explore these questions.
Abrams points out that cities like New York, San Francisco, Austin and Portland that vowed to cut significant funding from their police departments have likely since grown to regret the action as crime as risen in both of those cities since.
The mayor of Portland ended up returning some funding to the police. Austin changed course too, giving its police department a record budget of $451 million in 2021 after setting a record for shootings that year.
In August of 2020, San Francisco cut $120 million from its police budget, it has since raised funding by $50 million following an increase in crime.
Abrams was joined by Derek Cohen, vice president of the conservative thinktank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Timothy Lowery, the mayor of Florissant, Missouri to talk about how the defund the police movement has impacted policing.
“You needn’t look further than to where this actually took hold, Austin, Seattle, New York, these are all places that are fairly affluent and depending on the area, could also be fairly low-crime,” Cohen said. “That arises to these sort of activism being a luxury good.”
A mass exodus of police officers leaving the profession, whether is be from retirement or resignation, has happened in the past two years, leaving some departments “severely” understaffed.
Abrams explored what happens when departments are understaffed with San Diego officer Jared Wilson and James Smallwood of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“We lost over 240 officers in the last year, but that only paints part of the picture,” Wilson said. “We were already down 100 officers when that started and we have 200 officers in elements of training or medical leave, so we really only have 1,500 officers, which leaves us severely understaffed.”
Abrams also takes a look at moments of police heroics that have happened nationwide he does not feel other media outlets spend enough time looking at.