President Obama is scheduled to make an appearance in Newark, New Jersey Monday to discuss the “cycle of incarceration.” Meanwhile, Gov. Christie offered a bit of counter-programming Monday morning in Camden, NJ when he announced the creation of an annual law enforcement appreciation day in the state.
Monday morning, Gov. Christie highlighted his support for police, saying, “I will sign, when I’m done speaking here, an executive order that establishes law enforcement appreciation day in New Jersey, which will be this Thursday, November 5th, and every November 5th from this date moving forward.” Christie added, “It’s important for the state to recognize and acknowledge the great sacrifice and contribution all of you are making.”
“Me as the governor, the Mayor, the Freehold director, your other local officials we want to say thank you,” Christie told a group of officers in Camden. “As the FBI Director pointed out recently, there’s a chill wind blowing through law enforcement in this country, where officers do not feel as appreciated or as safe as they need to,” Christie said.
That was a reference to recent remarks in which FBI Director Comey seemed to endorse the so-called Ferguson Effect to explain the sudden surge in violent crime across the country. The remarks by FBI Director Comey seem to have sparked a war of words within the Obama administration and beyond. Last week former AG Eric Holder took issue with Director Comey’s statement.
The Ferguson Effect, which is still unproven, suggests police have pulled back in reaction to a perceived national mood which is increasingly skeptical of aggressive policing. That mood has been embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement which has held protests across the country, some of which have featured anti-police chants, signs and slogans.
Governor Christie weighed in to the debate last week when he criticized Black Lives Matter on CBS’ Face the Nation, saying, “They have been chanting in the streets for the murder of police officers.” Christie also criticized President Obama, saying, “the president of the United States is justifying that, but not only that, he hasn’t backed up police officers from the minute he’s gotten into office.”