Vulnerable Democrat Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL), on Thursday, blamed the droves of police officers leaving the force on the low morale and leadership within the department instead of Democrats’ anti-police rhetoric.
Underwood joined Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about the rise of crime and the policing in Chicago when she was asked about police officers feeling public officials do not “have their backs” and whether that is the reason for the growing number of police officers leaving the force.
The congresswoman, forgetting about the rhetoric coming from within her own party, said the reason for police officers leaving is due to the lack of morale and leadership in the department. She said, “It’s not about politicians being attacked.” She added that she rejects the claims that “This is not somehow that the United States Congress has been disparaging or something like that.”
Underwood also said the real issue is around “policing morale.”
She continued to say the problem stems from “their inability to recruit good officers” and the law enforcement’s “image around the country is one that it will take some deep reflection within the leadership of these law enforcement agencies to try and figure out how they can help recast this image of law enforcement.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) announced recently that attacks on police had risen drastically in the past year, and anti-police rhetoric has been high since last year. According to the group, which is the largest police union in the nation, men and women law enforcement officers saw a surge in ambush-style attacks, rising 91 percent from 2020.
A study done by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington policy institute, found that from April 2020 to 2021, the “retirements were up 45 percent and resignations rose by 18 percent in the year.” The numbers were compared to the previous 12 months.
In the past weeks, the group has also blasted politicians and the media or helping fuel the anti-police rhetoric. “As Violent Crime SURGES across America,” the FOP tweeted, “some politicians and some in the media are gaslighting the public into thinking the Police are the Problem…” They included a graphic that shows statistics of the crime surging in major cities.
Members of the Democrat Party in Congress have been prominent voices calling for police to be abolished, defunded, and dismantled. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) are just some of the members who have called for these efforts.
More so, some members in Underwood’s party, like Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), have acted like no one has been calling for these efforts. Recently when asked, Schrader said, “no one” in his party is calling for these efforts.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Spokesman Mike Berg said, “Democrats’ anti-police rhetoric is causing police around the country to leave the force. Lauren Underwood should take responsibility instead of blaming the officers who keep us safe.”
Underwood in 2020 barely won reelection in her district and is considered one of the crucial seats for the Democrats to hold onto in the midterm elections to keep control of the House.