In an Op-Ed for The Record Delta, Congressman Mooney shares his support for law enforcement.
On the issue of our police, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority once again decided to play politics, passing a purely partisan anti-police bill (H.R. 7120, June 25, 2020), which only serves to make all Americans less safe. This legislation promotes their left-wing agenda to appease radical activists, while further demoralizing police who are under attack.
Rather than focusing on improving law enforcement training and equipment, Democrats prioritized personal lawsuits against police officers. Today, our police officers, like most government employees, are generally protected from personal civil lawsuits to ensure they are able to fight crime effectively. The legislation passed by House Democrats eliminates this protection. This would put police officers in constant legal battles, burdening their time and risking their financial resources. The starting salary for a West Virginia State Trooper is $38,524. These officers support their families with this income and cannot afford to be encumbered by legal fees or the insurance to cover potential lawsuits.
Good-faith legislation would have meant input from both sides of the aisle, but this would not have served Speaker Pelosi and the Left’s political agenda. Republican amendments were proposed and outright disregarded by House Democrats. This includes an amendment that would have made it easier for local governments to fire and discipline the very few truly bad police officers. Another amendment would have required equipping Border Patrol officers with the resources to fight dangerous cartels.
The legislation passed by House Democrats would create more crime, division and further demoralize our police officers. This would inevitably disincentivize anyone from wanting to serve in law enforcement. Police officers would be hesitant to leave their police vehicles for fear of endless civil lawsuits and having their names forever on a public national registry.
In 2015, former FBI Director James Comey explained police officers were suffering from the “Ferguson Effect.” By this, he meant that police fear vilification for arresting people committing crimes after mass anti-police protests like those in Ferguson, Missouri. Attacking our police would lead to increased crime rates.
Today, violent crime is on the rise. Chicago’s homicide rate has risen 34 percent this year, and Philadelphia’s homicide rate has risen 21 percent, a rate not seen in over 10 years. For the month of June, shootings were up 130 percent in New York City compared to June of last year.
Sadly, some of the loudest voices proclaiming their support for the defund the police movement are the very Democrat Members of Congress, including Speaker Pelosi, who are privileged to be under the constant protection of the U.S. Capitol Police. What hypocrisy to be jamming through an anti-police agenda when it is police officers who allow Congress to run safely each day.
While some Democrat Members of Congress are voting by proxy from the comfort of their homes, our brave law enforcement officers must come into work each day. They are on duty, fighting the drug epidemic and keeping you safe. While far-left rioters burn the United States flag, loot businesses, shatter storefronts, topple monuments and deface historic property, our law enforcement officers are on the front lines risking their lives to keep all Americans safe.
West Virginia law enforcement should have more resources, not less, to combat the opioid epidemic. We are counting on our police officers to help fight this devastating crisis. As your representative in Congress, I’m working to secure grants to help support treatment, prevention and domestic law enforcement efforts.
I will continue to work with local and federal officials to secure the resources needed to help keep our communities safe and healthy. Recently, I was proud to announce an $87,989 grant for Putnam County to help equip state and local law enforcement with the resources necessary to combat the coronavirus. Additionally, $705,664 in Department of Justice (DOJ) grants were recently awarded in West Virginia’s Second Congressional District through the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program. I’m glad this DOJ funding will support the hiring of law enforcement professionals to advance public safety and security in our communities.
Our police need our support now more than ever. Whether it is a “thank you” or a kind nod, small gestures can go a long way to show appreciation for our brave officers. In Congress, I am fighting to protect our law enforcement from left-wing anti-police bills that would devastate their ability to effectively reduce crime and promote safety. It is imperative to law and order, safety and security and the American way of life that we all support our police.