Spencer Platt / Getty ImagesRioters clash with federal agents on July 28 outside the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in downtown Portland, Oregon. As rioting continues in the city, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a plan that asked sheriffs in neighboring counties to contribute deputies to keeping the peace in Portland. In separate statements, the sheriffs turned it down. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
Democrats who want to “defund the police” might want to take note: This is what it sounds like when you call for help and no one is coming.
Sheriffs in two counties near Portland, Oregon, aren’t interested in joining a plan the state’s governor announced Sunday to deal with continuing riots in the city.
The local prosecutor’s unwillingness to bring criminals to justice and a lack of “political support for public safety” made the move unwise, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts and Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said in separate statements posted by KATU-TV reporter Kellee Azar.
“The same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA’s Office,” Roberts said in his statement. “The next night they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again. The criminal justice system will need do its part and hold offenders accountable.”
Garrett’s statement was slightly less inflammatory, but just as damning in its way.
“The lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly,” it said.
It might have helped if Democratic Gov. Kate Brown had bothered discussing her idea with the two sheriffs before announcing it publicly — in writing.
Yet, in a six-point plan for dealing with the Portland chaos, Brown put in at No. 4 the fact that she was “asking Clackamas and Washington County Sheriff’s Offices and the City of Gresham Police Department to support the Portland Police Bureau with personnel and resources to keep the peace and protect free speech.”
Clearly, Brown was taking for granted the support she could expect from the sheriffs in counties outside Multnomah County, where Portland is the county seat.
It’s the same way liberals around the country take for granted the fact that officers will be available to answer a 911 call.
But Roberts and Garrett aren’t going along.
Sheriffs’ races in Oregon are nonpartisan, according to the National Sheriff’s Association, but it’s clear that the Democratic Brown – a vocal critic of President Donald Trump — doesn’t have the full-throated support of the Clackamas and Washington County sheriff’s offices.
“Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy, not adding resources,” Roberts said in the statement. “Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder.”
Do you think these sheriffs made the right decision?
In his own statement, Garrett said he was “sympathetic” to the Portland Police Bureau’s problems, and said his office would act “through indirect ways, like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, assisting with specific criminal investigation, etc.”
But he said putting his deputies in harm’s way, while law enforcement is under “intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk.”
In other words, this isn’t because Roberts and Garrett don’t care about the people of Portland, their colleagues on the Portland police, or the enforcement of law and order.
It’s because two sheriffs know full well the environment that liberals have created for law enforcement in the United States.
They know that both Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler complained loudly and publicly about the presence of federal agents in the city, accusing the agents of inciting violence.
And the sheriffs know they’d be asking their deputies to enter a war zone with the virtual guarantee that two liberal Democrats will stab them in the back and take sides with the “protesters” the first time things get dicey.
And the way things are going in Portland – where the so-called “anti-fascist” group known as antifa and the Black Lives Matter marchers hold sway and the conflict has turned deadly — things would get dicey the first night in.
So Gov. Brown in Oregon is finding out now what it feels like to call law enforcement for help and not get an answer.
The rest of the country needs to let that lesson sink in before the Nov. 3 election. The choice for Trump and law and order is going to be even clearer then than it is now.
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