[Ken] Casaday said the officers waiting to use deadly force may be a result of something called "de-policing," a trend he sees happening across the country.
"Officers are feeling so much pressure from the scrutiny the media have put on them. They just are not making the stops and taking the risks that they used to... Sometimes it's just easier to go out and answer your calls and not be proactive, because really when officers are proactive is when they get in trouble," Casaday said.
In Austin, Casaday said de-policing started after former officer, Geoffrey Freeman, shot and killed a naked and unarmed David Joseph last year. A shooting that cost Freeman his job, even though he was criminally cleared.This is the "Ferguson effect" argument recycled. Since this meme first arose, Grits has never understood why law enforcement spokesmen would suggest something so insulting to their own profession. Basically, the argument seems to be that officers will stop doing their jobs if people criticize them. For my part, I've never known a police officer with that mindset, so it's a bit jarring to see this I'm-too-big-a-pansy-to-do-my-job meme asserted as some sweeping mentality that's gripping the entire profession. I suppose it could be true, but Grits finds it unlikely and thinks there are other explanations for the data.
Before the Ferguson-effect meme, when Grits heard the word "de-policing" I usually thought of officers faking cases to satisfy numbers-driven policing demands, like drug-arrest quotas generating dozens of false convictions in Tulia, detectives and informants framing illegal immigrants in the Dallas fake drug scandal, or more recently, police officers in Arlington turning in fake tickets for traffic stops they never performed. These cases aren't so much about officers shirking their duty because of media scrutiny as they are aggressive but overworked officers in agencies with poor supervision feeling pressure to make big numbers. That's a bigger concern to me than the idea that police officers may cease performing their duties because some protester or columnist said something rude about them.
It's rather shocking to me that a police union boss would attribute such unprincipled motives to his members. IMO he's not doing them any favors.