Democrats have lost yet another Sheriff to the Republican party over the left’s treatment of police and the effective abandonment of officers all over the country to the whims of left-leaning mobs and opportunistic politicians who shout “defund the police” in the streets, putting officers and communities in danger.
According to WJHL-TV, Virginia Sheriff Chip Shuler of Smyth County trashed his Democrat Party membership and filed to join the Republican Party. Democrats shouldn’t be surprised by this turn of events since, as Shuler explained, this came as a result of them turning their back on him and his officers, not the other way around.
“I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington,” Shuler said in a release. “My deputies work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. As sheriff, it has been difficult to watch my deputies try to move forward during this unprecedented assault on our profession. We (law enforcement) remain an honorable profession and should not be judged by the bad acts of a few. I have always been a conservative throughout my law enforcement career of 38 years.”
As Fox News pointed out, Shuler is hardly the first Sheriff to leave the Democrat party. He joins John McClanahan of Buchanan County and Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County, both of whom left in 2020. Hieatt, in particular, came down hard on the “defund the police” movement, noting that the rising crime that resulted from the movement’s success was exactly what the left purchased with it.
“When we hear talks about defund the police, take away resources, the bottom line is, you get what you pay for and that’s with any profession,” Hieatt said in an interview with Fox News. “So if you take away money and have to pay bottom dollar for certain for all the service and not have the resources to properly train, not have the money to properly test all the new applicants and new people coming in, then you’re not going to get the best. If you want better people in law enforcement, then there needs to be more funding to be able to do more testing, to be able to offer better pay as the people come in.”
“Here I’m supposed to be the Democratic sheriff, these people are citizens, these are people that I know that have asked me for help when they’ve needed it, but yet they’re holding up signs asking to defund my department,” Hieatt continued. “It’s hard for me as a sheriff to wear a badge as a sworn law enforcement officer and elected sheriff and say I’m with the Democratic party when I would see the things that’s going on that’s hurting law enforcement.”
It’s the perfect example of Ronald Reagan’s old saying about his swap from Democrat to Republican, “I didn’t leave the Democrat party, the Democrat Party left me.”
Officers all over the nation have felt the sting of city officials turning their backs on them in the heat of crime-heavy movements like Black Lives Matter. Afraid to take any action out of fear of being abandoned by their superiors, many officers have ceased doing the necessary proactive police work that keeps a community safe.
As Harvard professor Roland Fryer found, policing is the most effective when law enforcement solves problems before they begin, but when the threat of becoming the next nationally recognized pariah with a badge looming with every action an officer takes, police become a lot more hands-off. As a result, the community suffers from rising crime rates.
“Defunding the police is not a solution and could cost thousands of black lives,” Fryer told The College Fix.
If Democrats continue to abandon officers and communities, this won’t stop at a few Sheriffs. This will spread like wildfire until voters that had previously been content to stay quiet stop being so passive and join with law enforcement agencies to push out those who put their communities in danger. Mayors, city councils, and more will begin leaning Republican where Democrats had enjoyed long, safe control.
This isn’t speculation. It’s already happening.