Local Law Enforcement Morale at All Time Low as Third Officer Perishes in line of Duty

A nationwide spike in violent crime devastated the law enforcement community in Texas after the murder of Corporal Charles Galloway of Harris County Pct. 5. Galloway, 47, was put to rest on Tuesday. He is survived by a daughter and a sister. Galloway served the Greater Houston community for over 12 years.

Galloway was one of 3 law enforcement officers in Texas who perished on 3 consecutive days. The other officials were a special agent and a sergeant, who were also killed in the line of duty. These officers constitute 3 of 25 officers nationally who have lost their lives within the first month of 2022.

According to recent reports, nearly 460 law enforcement officers were killed in 2021, that statistic up a staggering 55% from 2020. Escalating violence toward police and anti-police sentiment in the U.S. have been detrimental to the spirit within police departments. 

“When it first started out, the officers were a little demoralized by what was going on. They were constantly vilified in the media and elsewhere regarding them just doing their jobs,” said Douglas Griffith, Senior Police Officer and President of Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU). 

“It doesn’t matter what color [our officers] were, whether they were male or female, their sexual orientation. When they put on a blue uniform, they were going to be vilified. We’ve had officers who had things thrown at them, they were called every name in the book, and that’s demoralizing for someone who is going out there trying to do the right thing for their community,” said Griffith.

In a recent interview on KTSM-TV, Griffith commented on the callousness of bystanders following Galloway’s death.

“Two or three people were walking up videoing [Galloway], shot, in the truck, instead of calling for help, and that’s disturbing. It shows that people just don’t care. And that works on our psyche just like it would [for] anyone else,” said Griffith.

On the national scope, police officers from countless regions have expressed their exasperation with the increasingly negative attention associated with the blue uniform.

 “I’m tired. I am so g#*-damn tired. I wake up every morning and kiss my family goodbye, knowing there’s a possibility I won’t come home,” said Major Kevin Dingle, Georgia, in a viral TikTok video

“I am tired of every time I wake up in the morning, there’s someone else polarizing the fact that maybe law enforcement is just not a good thing,” said Dingle.

Dingle cites “negative stares” he faces daily, along with instances of people “actually flipping [him] off.”

Disdain for law enforcement among many civilians and news outlets has contributed to an increase in systemic turnover. Policemen and women across the country are turning in their badges for good.

“In the past month alone here in HPD, we’ve had 5 or 6 who have left for private sector jobs, because they said ‘I don’t get critiqued or blamed for every little thing… I’m not under a microscope when I go somewhere else. I don’t have to worry about getting called names. I don’t have to worry about going out with my family,’” said Griffith.

“We have lost quite a few to that.”

Officers and legal experts attribute various causes to the drastic hike in violence toward police, including measures to reform jail bonds.

“It’s the perfect storm,” said Griffith, referencing disrespect toward law enforcement, changes in the bail system, and violent offenders’ easy access to guns.

“People don’t respect authority. You see they’re letting violent offenders out of jail on low bonds or no bonds. That in itself is an issue because it emboldens them to commit more heinous crimes. It’s been pretty consistent here in Harris County. You see people that are out on multiple felony bonds, and they go out and kill somebody,” said Griffith.

According to a recent report from District Attorney Kim Ogg, published in The Texan in September 2021, measures to reform bail have “…led to declining community safety and disintegration of the purpose of bail reform.”

In a 60-page document, Ogg releases distressing statistics and analysis of Harris County trends. Since the implementation of bond reform in February 2019, the percentage of both violent and non-violent criminal defendants who re-offend after release with bail has risen dramatically.

Bond forfeitures and overall county crime rates have also increased, reported Ogg.

Citizens of Harris County can digitally monitor local violent and nonviolent crimes daily with interactive maps like this

“Our judges are spending so much time trying to equalize the justice system for the criminal, and they’re forgetting their primary responsibility is to provide justice for the community,” said Houston Council Member Mike Knox on an episode of his podcast last week.

“…Criminals are emboldened in today’s society,” said Knox, who formerly served as a Houston police officer and a board member of Houston Police Patrolmen’s Union. “Harris County elections in 2016 led to a rise in the number of leftist progressive candidates who take leadership roles in government.”

Changes in judgeships have given a voice to the “most radical leftist groups,” including “defund the police.” Criminal defendants are viewed as “victims,” said Knox. “Judges in Harris County make decisions based on social justice concerns, rather than on the law and making communities safe.” 

Knox cites “nonexistent borders,” the “largest murder rate ever,” and “violent and felony crimes on the rise.” He emphasizes that while law enforcement is under scrutiny by the very communities they serve, due to shocking crime statistics, the public does not feel safe.

“[It’s] not shocking how criminals flee, attack, and kill police… because they know the justice system under the current political climate is broken,” Knox said.

HPOU President Griffith criticizes the courts for enforcing bail reform measures regardless of the ramifications to public safety.

“The courts have one job, and that is to protect the citizens of Harris County, and they have failed miserably with that,” Griffith said.

“There has been a 20% reduction of people in prison in the last year and a half. That is strictly tied to the number of cases being tried in Harris County courts. When no cases are tried, no one goes to prison. These violent offenders are staying in Harris County jails, and since it’s overcrowded, what do they do? They give them a low bail to get them out. You’ve got to hold them accountable.”

On The Hard Knox Podcast last week, Harris County Pct. 5 Constable Ted Heap urges citizens to use their votes for communal safety.

“[The public] has an obligation to start looking and putting people in charge who believe in backing their police officers,” said Heap.

Griffith says that public safety should not be a partisan issue.

“This should not be a republican or democrat issue. This should be a safety and security issue,” Griffith said. “Pay attention to who is running in elections, and vote.”

“These men and women get up every day. They don’t do this because of the fantastic pay, they don’t do it because they want to work on the weekends. They don’t do it because they want to be away from their families on the holidays,” said Heap.

“They do it because they want to make a difference in their community. They do it because they feel that it’s a calling to be able to serve.”

February 14 draws near, which marks the beginning of early voting for the primaries in Harris County. March 1 is the final day to vote. This election cycle, we at Katy Christian Magazine urge you to consider active interest in public safety as a crucial criterion for any candidate.

We also encourage our readership to vocalize their support for our local police force. These men and women sacrifice time with loved ones, quality pay, their reputations, and sometimes their lives to keep our streets safe to walk in. Times have drastically changed. Instead of thanking our hardworking officers for their contributions to society, far too many treat them with distrust, distaste, and disgust.

Take a moment to thank a police officer for what they do. When you see them in line for their morning coffee, offer to pay for their drink. Small gestures like this take no time out of our days, but they can make all of the difference in giving that officer a reason to continue defending our city.

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Hannah Menslage

Hannah Menslage is the assistant publisher and editor of Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines. She also writes a lifestyle column and manages the social media accounts for these publications. Hannah is a journalism/communications student in the Valenti school at the University of Houston. In her free time, Hannah enjoys gardening, cooking and baking, hanging out with her dog and cat, writing and completing fun DIY projects. Contact her with any questions at hannah@katychristianmagazine.com.