In a recent article shared on Officer.com we read about Mayor Sallie Peake of Wellford, South Carolina, who - in her infinite wisdom - has issued an order that the Wellford Police can no longer pursue suspects on foot. I don't know quite what to say. Mayor Peake justified this order because of the insurance costs incurred when officers get injured and the workers compensation amounts the city is paying out. In light of the order and the Mayor's professed interest in the safety of the officers, I have a few more suggestions for her to reduce insurance costs and workers comp claims: She could prohibit all driving by any police officer to reduce automotive accidents she could prohibit all firearms training or use to reduce any chance of 'friendly fire' accidents she could prohibit officers from carrying folding knives or using any edged tools while on duty she could prohibit officers from attempting to arrest anyone who doesn't immediately comply with all verbal orders she could order the officers not to resist any assaults so that the only injuries they receive are those delivered by the assailant Wait... that last one actually catches my eye. It occurs to me that even if law enforcement professionals do all they can to avoid risk, they still incur some simply by being in the profession. There is no way to avoid risk in police work. I think Mayor Peake has forgotten a few things as she so narrowly focuses on insurance costs and workers comp claims. Law enforcement professionals take risks in the course of performing their duties to mitigate risk or threat to the rest of the population in their jurisdiction. Of course, not all risk or threat can be erased, but the officers absorb a huge amount of it and prevent an even larger amount through patrol and proactive deterence. If the Mayor wants a police agency that doesn't pursue crime, then what she really wants is a show security force with no power to enforce the law. Why? Because enforcement involves the incurrence of risk when the bad guys don't want to obey the law. Arrest by its very definition requires the use of force to control someone's actions. While I wouldn't want to see all those Wellford City cops lose their jobs, perhaps they could all get hired by the Sheriff's office because that agency would suredly have to pick up the slack. And therein we see, once again, the power of an elected leader over an appointed one: The Chief of Police, Chris Guy, effectively said (paraphrased), "What the Mayor ordered is what we have to do." Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright on the other hand, disagrees with Chief Guy's assessment, reminding the media folks questioning him that reducing risk to the officers increases rather than reduces risk to the public. And I quote the good Sheriff: If a bank robber or a drunk driver or a shoplifter or somebody with a warrant runs on foot, it's our obligation to do what we can do to bring them to justice. Now, don't get me wrong. I sympathize with the Chief's position. He's appointed by the Mayor and if he wants to keep his job he'll do what he's told and he'll tell his officers to obey that directive in turn. I sympathize with the Mayor who is trying to lead a city in these financially trying times and she's searching for a way to cut costs. I get that. That said, I admire the Sheriff whose position allows him to voice the truth of the matter: We law enforcement professionals have a job to do and that job involves risk. If we fail to do our jobs, the risk is passed along to the public we're supposed to be protecting and serving. How long do you think it will take for Mayor Peake and Chief Guy to get that? What do you think?