New at Huffington Post: The “War on Cops” That Never Happened

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

We’re about halfway through 2012, and the first six months have been the safest for American police officers in 60 years.

What happened to all those trends driving the allegedly “War on the Cops” we heard so much about last year? We were warned again about anti-police violence in a front-page New York Times article as recently as April. Why hasn’t anyone yet reported on the figures for this year?

I explore all of this in a new piece for Huffington Post.

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27 Responses to “New at Huffington Post: The “War on Cops” That Never Happened”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    You haven’t counted all their hurt feelings over the “puppycide” allegations.


  2. #2 |  freedomfan | 

    From Radley’s article:

    There may be sound arguments on either side of these issues, but it is important that the debate and discourse be based on an accurate assessment of the dangers of police work, not one perpetuated by police interest groups and media outlets pushing a narrative that favors their own policy preferences.

    I certainly agree that the people in the news media tend to promote data that supports their causes and ignore data that doesn’t. But, I really think there are two bigger factors in why those folks accept poorly supported premises like the fictional War on Cops (WoC) so uncritically.

    First, laziness. It’s always easy to read some flack’s press release and reword it into a story. Reading some of the WoC stories, it seems pulled right from police advocacy groups’ press releases, sometime with an extra interview or vaguely related factoid added for that thin patina of “journalism”. Moreover -and we see this in most all areas of reporting – the police are government and “government” implies “official” and “official”, to a lazy journalist, means “true” (or, at least, “presentable as true”). We constantly see stories where the version according to the police or some government agency is reported as fact, often citing key facts without attribution, as though they are to be accepted as true. But, the version according to those opposing the government is introduced as “he claims” or “whose lawyer says” and so on, to make it clear that the veracity of the claim is no better than the reader’s perception of the trustworthiness of the source.

    Second, media folks often eschew the non-hyperbolic “things are basically okay” story for the panic-inducing “the sky is falling” story. If someone’s life is in danger, then it’s a front-page story. When it turns out he never was in danger (and that those who were saying he was in danger are the same people saying he should be paid more and given more power to protect himself because of his dangerous job), that’s page A31.

  3. #3 |  Alex | 

    This was deeply satisfying to read!

  4. #4 |  John P. | 

    There is no war on the cops.

    But there is strong evidence to support the theory that the cops have declared war on the public…

  5. #5 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    freedomfan, it’s not just that journalists are lazy, it’s that people who follow the news don’t push to get a better grade of journalism.

  6. #6 |  Andrei Vfeked | 

    No “War on Cops? Damn, guess we need another “SUMMER OF THE SHARK” to distract us then.

  7. #7 |  Other Sean | 

    Just a bit of non-rigorous anecdotal data…

    Over the past ten years I’ve personally known twelve cops who were shot. Seven died, five didn’t. Three of the seven fatal shots were suicides. Four of the twelve shootings happened during encounters of choice – either search warrants or pre-text car stops. One happened off-duty. Only four of the cops were doing regular patrol work when shot.

    In the same time frame, four officers were killed in car crashes. Three were involved in pursuits. One was just an ordinary accident.

    If you took away prohibition, with all its needless chasing and confrontation, you could probably cut the remaining risks of police work in half.

    So in a sense there really is a war on cops. It’s called the war on drugs.

  8. #8 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Other Sean,

    Shhhhh! you’re not supposed to realize that!

  9. #9 |  KPRyan | 

    There was a ‘War on Cops’ declared at the beginning of 2012… just not the one portrayed in the human’s media.

    Dogs throughout the land were the ones actually to declare the war. They spread the word at tree trunks, fire hydrants and bushes everywhere. The word soon spread nationwide.

    That’s the reason for so many dogs shot by cops. A turncoat (some say a German Shepherd) brought the war to his K-9 master’s attention. Since that day, open season has been quietly declared on dogs in retaliation for their initial act.

  10. #10 |  Aresen | 



  11. #11 |  David | 

    Excellent debunking of the eternal myth (though propagated more in recent years than ever) that being a cop is so dangerous and they’re constantly persecuted.

    In fact, of the ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S., not only are none of them police-related….none of them are in the government AT ALL!

    God bless you for your continued good works, Radley (regardless of the exception I take to some of your glib posts).

  12. #12 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Being a cop is far less dangerous than being a long-haul trucker, a roofer, a commercial fisherman, or a lumberjack.


  13. #13 |  David | 


    Yeah, John, and not the actual cop deaths that do occur are either (a) car accidents, or (b) them shooting EACH OTHER (by accident or by, uh, “accident”). It’s not like movies like ‘Heat’ and the countless cop TV shows which show them as always under gunfire.

    Of course, all life is sacred in my opinion, so I’m not saying one life means more than any other, but just to dispell the mainstream media-created fantasy.

  14. #14 |  StrongStyleFiction | 

    I swear, sometimes it seems that there are LEOs who really do want a real war on cops. It’s scary how fragile their egos are that they have to engage in constant chest beating to make themselves feel like bad asses. This is all part of their sick need to be venerated and obeyed at all times.

  15. #15 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Good artcle, as per usual.

    Criticism (intended as constructive and not mean):

    would have been nice to try to track down how many people police have killed over the years. If you can’t track it, then say that. If there is some way of getting an estimate then we might know whether cops are killing a lot more suspects than they used to. i see this as kind of the other side of the coin of what is discussed in the article.

  16. #16 |  Pi Guy | 

    One of the HP commenters indicates that LEOs have to deal with gang members every day. Really?

    Yeah, we know you’re all heroes. You freaking remind us every single day.

  17. #17 |  Sean | 

    On the topic of fearful cops , SWAT team raids home over “threats” against police made on a Topix message board. No evidence was found that the people there made the postings, but they still got flash banged, doors and windows kicked in, electronics seized, etc.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    War on Drugs = Intense violence means we’re winning!

    War on Cops…what does it mean if there is no violence? OMG!

  19. #19 |  Duncan20903 | 

    Don’t cop killers traditionally take the first 6 months of the year off?

  20. #20 |  Duncan20903 | 

    Since that day, open season has been quietly declared on dogs in retaliation for their initial act.”

    Cops now hate the canine race so much that they’ve even started shooting & killing their own dogs.

  21. #21 |  SJE | 

    OT, but its interesting to see all the hand-wringing following the conviction of Jerry Sandusky, especially how his crimes was covered up for so long because he was part of a special class of “heroes.” I want to scream at the media who similarly ignore decades of abuse by other public servants, especially the police.

  22. #22 |  CK | 

    The strange behaviour of the dog in the night redux:
    When the linebacker coach at Linebacker U. received nary a coaching job call nor interview from any university after he left his position, the dog did not bark neither did it hunt.

  23. #23 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Speaking of war on cops and friendly fire…

    Attempted puppycide, dog effectively wins:

    “As officers arrived on the scene, police said a pitbull came outside of a residence and charged at them.

    “Two officers then fired shots. The dog was hit and police believe one of the bullets ricocheted and hit one of the officers in the leg.

    “The officer was taken to a hospital in good condition. The pitbull was treated at the scene.”

    TWO officers opened fire, still didn’t manage to kill the dog, and one cop managed to shoot the other. The stricken officer will undoubtedly be hailed as a hero.

  24. #24 |  Pi Guy | 

    #17 Sean:
    Several of the commenters on that forum already noted – correctly – that, had these same threats been made against non-cops and their families, there’d be no raid and likely no follow-up when and if the threats were actually realized.

  25. #25 |  Christopher Swing | 

    The closest thing I’ve seen to a war on cops lately is a reporter trying to chase one down to get some answers;

    Where apparently the great transgression against him was calling him while he was on vacation. While he was watching a movie with his family. Which leads to the question, “So YOU’RE the asshole that doesn’t turn his fucking phone off in the theater?”

  26. #26 |  Timsalad | 

    @ 15. Burgers

    In the 40 months till the end of April 2012 267 people were killed by police in all situations an average of 6.68 per month,

  27. #27 |  Chicagojon | 

    Obviously it’s safer for cops because they have bearcats and semi-automatic assault rifles. Once they get the automated weaponized drone vehicles cop death rates should be close to 0.