On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved a request from Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray to adopt a policy to hire 10 additional police officers a year for the next for year, funds permitting. From the staff report:
Mayor Pro Tem Murray requested that staff prepare a policy for City Council consideration at the June 10, 2014 meeting to memorialize the City Council’s commitment to public safety by increasing the number of police officers back to pre-recessionary levels. The proposed Resolution adopts a policy to prioritize the funding, as part of the annual budget process, for 10 additional police officers each fiscal year for the next four years beginning with fiscal year 2014/15, should there be sufficient General Fund resources available to fund such positions.
Ensuring citizens are safe in their homes, neighborhoods, on the streets and in their businesses is the first duty of local government. While a tiny but vocal group that frequents city council meetings is possessed of the belief that the public’s safety is threatened by the police, the council acted from the responsible, traditional and common sense position that a police department of sufficient strength is a necessary condition for having a safe community.
To be sure, reducing crime and ensuring public safety isn’t solely a function of hiring more police. The character of the community, the refusal of citizens to tolerate the presence of criminals and criminal activity in their neighborhoods is a key element, as well as parents doing everything they can to keep their children on the moral straight and narrow and away from gangs or other criminal involvement. But at the end of the day, a city needs good men and women with badges to keep out the bad guys.
Few things undermine citizens confidence in free government more than that government’s inability to provide law and order. I’ll end with a quote I’ve posted here before from the 1964 acceptance speech of Barry Goldwater, hardly a friend of oppressive government:
“Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill that purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens. History shows us – demonstrates that nothing – nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders.”