When Springfield Police Chief Ken Scarlette found out one of his officers was a neo-Nazi with an 18-year secret history of antisemitism, racism, homophobia and sexism, it was all he could do to place him on leave and embark on a fight with the "structural barriers that make it hard to deliver on [his] early promises of accountability."
And this was the best-case scenario for reformers, where there was little organized opposition to the Nazi's firing. In contrast, many police chiefs couldn't care less, and even when they do police unions, politicians and media make it difficult to take action against extremists on the force.
Law enforcement leaders seldom act decisively when extremists are uncovered in their ranks, hate monitors say, with cases typically stagnating because of pushback from police unions, fear of expensive First Amendment challenges, or resistance to being seen as caving to anti-police activism. … Others have been linked to far-right militia groups and white-supremacist factions, or have been identified as contributing racist posts on police message boards. An Oklahoma sheriff made national headlines in recent weeks after he was recorded reportedly talking about killing journalists and lynching Black people.