America’s Police Force: While Things Have Changed Since 9/11, Many Things Have Not.

2Corinthians 8:21 “Regard what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

Since 1973, Gallup has asked Americans to rank their most trusted institutions. The #1 vote-getter is our military, with 78% of Americans saying they love our armed forces. Small business came in second at 64%. Our police force is third at 54%, then the church at 48%. So, contrary to what the media and activist groups are telling us,

…over half of America has a rich history of trust, honor and admiration towards our police.

New York City has the most technologically advanced police force in America (and in most of the world), with such advances as the Domain Awareness System (which pools existing live streams of data from multiple sources) and CompStat 2.0 (which provides officers in the field with access to updated and interactive, real-time crime pattern analysis and mapping software). Departments around the world regularly contact the NYPD to learn their technology. But they also want to learn from the events of 9/11.

What other police forces have learned, what we in America have all learned, from 9/11 is more about NY City police valor and honor than their technology. Everyone learned of NY police heroism, which confirmed why the majority of people around the world hold America’s police in such high regard.

Of the 2,977 victims who died on September 11, 2001, 412 were emergency workers, who rushed into the towers and were trapped. In this number were 50 police officers from both the Port Authority (37) and New York City (23), all of whom had families, who died while trying to save others.

The news on the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) included this: “Within minutes of Flight 11’s impact, the PAPD commanding officer on the scene ordered a full evacuation of the North Tower at 9 a.m., about 3 minutes before Flight 175 hit the South Tower. Some officers were ordered into the towers to assist with stairwell evacuations, while others helped with evacuations in the plaza and subway station.” The youngest PA policeman to die was 28 years old (Walwyn Stuart). The oldest was 63 (Chief James Romito).

The news on the NY City Police Department (NYPD) included this: “The NYPD officers saw Flight 11’s impact with the North Tower and immediately reported it to dispatchers. 10 minutes after Flight 11’s impact and 7 minutes before Flight 175’s impact, the NYPD chief of department was en route to the scene and raised the police mobilization to level 4, thereby sending around 22 lieutenants, 100 sergeants, and 800 police officers to the World Trade Center. Once Flight 175 had struck the South Tower, another level 4 mobilization was ordered, bringing to almost 2,000 the number of NYPD personnel at the scene. Some were ordered to enter the World Trade Center to assist with the FDNY’s evacuations. NYPD personnel were primarily responsible for assisting in evacuations and helping injured civilians.” The youngest NY police officer to die was 26 years old (Mark Ellis). The oldest was 47 (John D’Allara).

But many of us don’t know that over these last 19 years, over 240 more NYPD officers have died from illnesses caused during the 9/11 attacks. This is more than 10x the number of officers who died that day.

Research points to cardiovascular disease as being markedly higher in responders who were first on the scene as well as those who spent protracted periods of time on the pile. Researchers are linking high exposure to 9/11 World Trade Center dust with the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease.

“The unfortunate part is that number continues to grow,” Deputy Commissioner Robert Ganley told ABC News. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s very sad. It’s sad for the department. It’s sad for the families left behind.”

So how do we comprehend New York’s City Council’s recent decision to slash 1 billion dollars from the NYPD budget? How could we forget our heroic officers’ actions at 9/11? Not all NY City Council members voted for the $1B budget cut.

Councilman Joseph Borelli, who voted no, said, “know what we’re doing will create a more violent city.”

We will be witnessing Borelli’s prediction coming true in the coming months.

Our verse this week, from the apostle Paul’s 2nd letter to the church in Corinth, emphasizes each person’s responsibility to highlight the honorable actions of those around us, both in the eyes of God and the presence of others. The institution of our police department operates according to what is honorable in thoughts and deeds, which not only honors the Lord but also shines a bright light in the world in the eyes of others. This has been the tradition of America’s police department, and especially in New York City.

The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #407

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