As the number of officer-involved shooting rises year to year, everyone has their own theory as to why.
Some say it’s lax gun laws. Others say it’s mental health issues. But Joe Clure, head of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said it’s a lot more simple than that: People just don’t respect police officers the way they used to.
“It appears to me that society has changed significantly as it relates to the respect for law enforcement and authority,” he told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos. “When I came on 32 years ago…people would fight with you but it was more of an attempt to escape. They obviously didn’t want to go back to jail. These days it seems like more and more people are more eager and willing to engage law enforcement in lethal confrontations.”
Clure was speaking just 24 hours after Phoenix Police Officer John Hobbs was killed in the line of duty and another officer, who has not been identified, was critically wounded.
Clure worked with Hobbs on-and-off and called him a “solid guy.” But he said Hobbs had a “calling” to be a cop.
“Not everybody wants to do it because some of the things yo are asked to do are very difficult, very dangerous, even more so in Phoenix it appears,” he said, adding that Hobbs’ job of taking down known felons was certainly perilous.
When it comes to keeping officers safe, Clure said the city needs to make sure its police department is well-staffed, given good equipment and trained. The department has lost about 500 officers over the past years.
“It’s obviously going to impact your ability to enforce the law,” he said.