I support the police. I and my family have written letters of support to local law enforcement before, I’ve had letters in the newspaper showing support for them, and I’ve written about it here more than once. When negative publicity comes to the police, I give them the benefit of the doubt.
That’s why the North Las Vegas Police Union’s new billboard campaign upsets me so much. It’s illogical, cheap, and incendiary–the opposite of how they usually operate.
The billboards, put up all around town this week, say things like, “Due to recent police layoffs we can no longer guarantee your safety.” The union is trying to get the public to call in to the city council and voice outrage over budget cuts. Read the union’s web site for this campaign here.
These billboards, and the web site, raise some difficult questions:
- You can no longer guarantee our safety? When did you ever? Is such a thing possible in a free country?
- Your web site lists scary crime statistics in our city–are these the result of a recent spike, or are they the normal pattern for North Las Vegas? If the latter (which it is), how do you explain your failure to live up to the previous guarantee of safety that you’ve implied?
- Aren’t signs like this basically an advertisement to criminals that they’re more likely to get away with crime, so we can expect more crime to be committed? If crime does go up, how can you know that it is due to the cuts in staff, and not your public campaign telling criminals that you expect crime to go up?
- If crime does not go up, and if the police department successfully repels any attempted increases in crime in North Las Vegas, will this union apologize to the city council and, indeed, to the city of North Las Vegas for using such underhanded scare tactics?
Honestly, in the long run, I can’t see these signs gaining the local police department much support. It’s things like this that turn people off from unions.