The below op-ed was written by FBI Director Christopher Wray and published on Fox News Digital on January 5th.
In law enforcement, our most fundamental duty is to ensure people can live free from fear—a task that has become more challenging over the past few years. FBI crime statistics released in October showed that in 2021, for the second year in a row, violent crime remained at alarmingly high levels. From conversations I routinely have with police chiefs and sheriffs every week, those violent crime trends have continued throughout 2022.
Based on past successes in lowering violent crime, we know what works. It takes law enforcement agencies sharing intelligence and resources to dismantle the worst gangs and take—and keep—the most violent offenders off the streets. It means steering young offenders away from violence before they move on to more serious offenses. And it requires law enforcement agencies to better engage with the communities we serve to earn their trust and cooperation.
We have to develop new ways to meet the long-term challenge of recruiting more of the everyday heroes who keep us all safe. Today’s tight labor market certainly contributes to police recruiting challenges, but what I often hear is that a bigger issue is a sense among rank-and-file cops that too many in our society no longer respect their work.
Law enforcement requires extraordinary citizens who are willing to put their lives on the line for a total stranger every day. And it’s more than a profession; it’s a calling. I urge our workforce all the time to do their best to block out the noise and stay focused on the mission—the people we do the work for and the people we do the work with. But on top of that, if we’re going to continue to attract dedicated public servants to this calling, we all need to be more outspoken in our support of the brave men and women who sacrifice so much to keep others safe.