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Nearly a dozen officers who were members of a SWAT team in a South Florida police department quit the unit last week due to a growing anti-cop “political climate,” according to reports, as officers nationwide grow increasingly frustrated with efforts to defund or disband them.
“The risk of carrying out our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families,” wrote 10 officers with the Hallandale Beach, Broward County, in their resignation letter dated June 9.
“The anguish and stress of knowing that what we may lawfully be called upon to do in today’s political climate combined with the team’s current situation and several recent local events, leave us in a position that is untenable,” the officers added.
They also lamented that the SWAT team was “minimally equipped, under-trained and often times restrained” in the performance of their duties, according to WSVN-TV, a Miami-based FOX affiliate.
10 members of Hallandale Beach Police’s SWAT team resign in letter to police chiefhttps://t.co/4OCgiLhhwS
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) June 13, 2020
The officers were not leaving the department, just the SWAT unit.
In the letter, officers also noted they were increasingly concerned that city leaders were “placing the safety of dogs over the safety of team members,” and that as such, the team members have “continued to operate under these conditions with a growing sense of hesitancy.
“This hesitancy creates officer safety issues that cannot be ignored or overlooked,” they wrote in their letter to Chief Sonia Quinones.
The former team members also expressed their displeasure with city administrators over what they described as a “clear disdain for our agency and the team” for failing to address budget shortfalls that would provide better equipment and additional training for team members.
Also, members were upset with some of those in command after they took a knee with protesters a day earlier, WSVN reported. The officers also said they did not feel supported by city officials or ranking commanders within the department.
“The Vice-Mayor, Sabrina Javellana has openly made ignorant and inaccurate statements attacking the lawful actions of the city’s officers and SWAT team from the dais and her social media accounts,” the letter continued. “She has actively protested against us. She has shown that she takes pleasure in besmirching” the department, “having the gall to compare us to the Minneapolis Police Department,” a reference to the death of George Floyd.
“Until these conditions and sentiments are rectified and addressed, we cannot safely, effectively and in good faith carry out duties in this capacity without putting ourselves and our families at this needless increased level of risk,” the officers wrote.
The letter comes as police officers and departments around the country are increasingly under assault by Left-wing activists and Democrats in Congress to defund or disband departments.
Hallandale Beach City Manager Greg Chavarria responded to the letter with a statement to WSVN.
“The officers who submitted their resignation from their SWAT assignment include the newly elected president of the IUPA Police Union,” Chavarria writes in part. “They specifically mention their displeasure with the Chief joining members of our community in taking a knee against racism, hatred, and intolerance earlier this week. They have incorrectly stated the gesture was in support of an elected official. This is simply not true.”
The resignation of the South Florida officers follows a similar act by nearly five dozen officers of the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response unit after two members were suspended without pay following the release of a video appearing to show them shoving an elderly agitator earlier this month during Floyd-related protests. The two officers were later arrested and charged with second-degree assault.
Even before the Floyd incident, heightened politicization of incidents involving police officers and civilians contributed to shortages of cops in scores of departments around the country, as veterans left and people who were considering law enforcement careers decided to pursue other interests.
But as calls increase to defund or even abolish police departments, some are predicting a mass exodus, which will eventually lead to a crisis as crime explodes.
“I wouldn’t wish this job on my worst enemy,” Tulsa, Okla. Maj. Travis Yates wrote Friday in a column for a law enforcement publication.
Under the headline, “America, We Are Leaving,” Yates noted, “I would never send anyone I cared about into the hell that this profession has become … I used to talk cops out of leaving the job. Now I’m encouraging them. It’s over, America. You finally did it. You aren’t going to have to abolish the police, we won’t be around for it.”
“Officers are afraid to speak out, they are afraid to talk,” Yates told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Friday. “You are only your next call away from being canceled or destroyed, and so officers feel very limited. I think citizens do, too, and we had just as many citizens comment on that article and send us emails.”
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