Mayor de Blasio’s pandering to race-oriented special-interest groups has appalled many voters. More than half of New Yorkers recently told Quinnipiac pollsters that they disapprove of the way the mayor handles the police department. The next move, a strike by the policemen, may already be underway informally: Summonses and arrests have dropped dramatically since the murder of two patrolmen by a man who had said he would “put wings on pigs.” And if the police formalize and escalate their strike to make their point that de Blasio is anti-police, many New Yorkers will likely back them up.

But they shouldn’t…

What the 1919 Boston strike story reminds us is that policemen can’t be policymakers. The policy has to come from the government. Those who back the beleaguered police of New York today do so only because they happen to share the policemen’s policy position…

It’s important for the same people to ask themselves: What if the police were taking the position that their pay should be tripled? Standing with the police can be standing against common sense or the law.

On Wednesday afternoon in the predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, many had noticed the police slowdown. A car mechanic who goes by the name “Big Perm” said he noticed a change in the neighborhood. “They just walk around, they ride in their patrol cars, and they just pass by,” he said. He does not approve of the police slow down, like most people I spoke to. Big Perm worries that the lack of policing the “small fry” will lead to more crimes by “big fry.” In the meantime, he is keeping his children at home…

[M]any I spoke to felt that even when the police were making arrests, they were frequently focused on the wrong issues. As Matt Ford notes astutely in The Atlantic, “the police union’s phrasing—officers shouldn’t make arrests ‘unless absolutely necessary’—begs the question: How many unnecessary arrests was the NYPD making before now?”

For nearly a year, the NYPD’s top brass have been worried about losing the rank and file. Morale was already at risk from the superfluous new oversight bureaucracies that de Blasio demanded as a mayoral candidate. Worse, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has assumed new prosecutorial and sentencing powers, which it lacks the knowledge to use appropriately.

In early November, a high-ranking official spoke to me about the NYPD’s fears: “The main thing we can’t allow to happen is to lose control of the streetcorners.”

That may already be occurring. The department managed to quell a 10% shooting spike in the first half of the year by throwing cops at hot spots over the summer. But in the past four weeks, shooting victims have surged 38% over the same period last yea r, while in the days since the assassination, cops have all but abandoned discretionary summons and arrest activity, as threats against them pour into the department.

If de Blasio wants to reverse this ominous slowdown, he must explicitly rebut his earlier slander of the NYPD.

Mr. Bratton said on Monday that a “weeklong period of mourning” and demonstrations that were straining resources were contributing to the drop-off in arrests and summonses. But he said the slowdown should not concern New Yorkers. “I would point out it has not had an impact on the city’s safety at all,” Mr. Bratton said.

A top union official flatly denied that there was a job action and pointed to the orders to double up and the need to police demonstrations as the main reasons…

Michael J. Palladino, the head of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said that while a stoppage was not sanctioned for detectives, in his opinion it was understandable.

“Cops have feelings, too,” he said. “Now they are the targets of execution. That’s enough to make anyone hesitate, regardless of your profession.”

This is a highly dangerous game.

To ignore crime — even low-level offenses — only encourages disorder and invites a return to the bad old days. The people of New Yorks have a right to expect their city policed and their laws enforced.

It’s also bound to backfire politically. By not doing their jobs, cops risk losing the support of the vast majority of New Yorkers who are not at all with the protesters.

No one is suggesting police should not take every precaution they can to ensure their own safety. But they have a sworn duty to enforce the law.

The irony here, of course, is that not enforcing minor crimes is pretty much what the anti-cop crowd has been demanding all along.

Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court. He hired a proven reformer, Mr. Bratton, who had achieved with the Los Angeles Police Department what needs doing in New York. The furor that has gripped the city since the Garner killing has been a complicated mess. But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:

1. Don’t violate the Constitution.

2. Don’t kill unarmed people.

To that we can add:

3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around.

A week without cops, and without much crime, has amplified the question of how much policing we need. It’s tough to run a protection racket when people don’t feel threatened, and New York ended 2014 with new lows in murders, rapes, burglaries, grand larcenies and robberies.

For over 20 years, crime has dropped as the NYPD has doubled and redoubled its enforcement efforts. At some point, the chemo is deadlier than the cancer…

And so they’ve launched this unprecedented, deeply disturbing, police rebellion against de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the city they’ve sworn to serve and protect. Patrol cops have been able to slow down (and response times have surely suffered) because their supervisors are on a silent strike, too.

This is not a few angry cops — it’s a critical mass so suspicious of de Blasio that even those who want to work are afraid to cross their peers and bosses who don’t.

The slowdown also challenges the fundamental tenets of broken-windows policing, a controversial strategy championed by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. According to the theory, which first came to prominence in a 1982 article in The Atlantic, “quality-of-life” crimes like vandalism and vagrancy help normalize criminal behavior in neighborhoods and precede more violent offenses. Tackling these low-level offenses therefore helps prevent future ones. The theory’s critics dispute its effectiveness and contend that broken-windows policing simply criminalizes the young, the poor, and the homeless.

Public drinking and urination may be unseemly, but they’re hardly threats to life, liberty, or public order. (The Post also noted a decline in drug arrests, but their comparison of 2013 and 2014 rates is misleading. The mayor’s office announced in November that police would stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession and issue tickets instead. Even before the slowdown began, marijuana-related arrests had declined by 61 percent.) If the NYPD can safely cut arrests by two-thirds, why haven’t they done it before?

The NYPD might benefit from fewer unnecessary arrests, too. Tensions between the mayor and the police unions originally intensified after a grand jury failed to indict a NYPD officer for the chokehold death of Eric Garner during an arrest earlier this year. Garner’s arrest wasn’t for murder or arson or bank robbery, but on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes—hardly the most serious of crimes. Maybe the NYPD’s new “absolutely necessary” standard for arrests would have produced a less tragic outcome for Garner then. Maybe it will for future Eric Garners too.

So this police protest, unwittingly, is leading to the exposure of the very policies that anger so many different constituencies about modern law-enforcement tactics.

First, it shines a light on the use of police officers to make up for tax shortfalls using ticket and citation revenue. Then there’s the related (and significantly more important) issue of forcing police to make thousands of arrests and issue hundreds of thousands of summonses when they don’t “have to.”…

In an alternate universe where this pseudo-strike wasn’t the latest sortie in a standard-issue right-versus left political showdown, one could imagine this protest as a progressive or even a libertarian strike, in which police refused to work as backdoor tax-collectors and/or implement Minority Report-style pre-emptive policing policies, which is what a lot of these Broken Windows-type arrests amount to…

Unfortunately, this protest is not about police refusing to shake people down for money on principle.

The NYPD—and cops more generally—have a public relations problem in the wake of the Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and a long string of other cases. Acting like a bunch of high-school jocks protesting a ban on keg parties isn’t exactly going to win over many hearts and minds. It’s exactly the inability of the cops who killed Garner to restrain themselves that bothered so may of us who watched the video of the encounter. The same goes for the hysterical overreaction and escalation of force used against protesters in Ferguson over the summer…

I’m no de Blasio partisan, but the mayor’s willingness to entertain the notion that Eric Garner needn’t have died in police custody has about as much to do with the murders of Ramos and Liu as Sarah Palin’s defense of the Second Amendment had to do with madman Jared Loughner’s shooting of Gabby Giffords. Which is to say: nothing…

Prior to the killing of Ramos and Liu, the last time an NYPD cop was ambushed in such a way was in 1988; their deaths were the first in the line of fire since 2011. Yet the email references the 1970s, “when police officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis.” We normally associate such massive displays of overreaction with pearl-clutching undergraduates calling for “trigger warnings” when faced with reading The Great Gatsby…

As Bratton and the NYPD start talking among themselves, the commissioner will do well to paraphrase another Trumanism: “The buck stops here.” The police cannot ultimately control public opinion unilaterally. What they can do, though, is acknowledge that a change in their attitudes, behavior, policies, and willingness to engage in discussions about how people see them can help them win back the public trust.

Considering how much New York, as with many of our other major cities, has leaned toward over-policing, this isn’t all a bad thing – I’m not going to get worked up about cops handing out fewer parking violations. But as a whole, this represents a completely irresponsible rejection of the duty to enforce the law…

Supporters of the NYPD have pointed out throughout the back-turning that their officers feel upset at Mayor de Blasio and others, that they feel they are less safe because of the comments of politicians. This is one more example of one of the most irritating tendencies of unionized police forces today – a recurring demand that they receive the same attitude of respect for authority given to the United States military, without any of the responsibility and duty that comes with it…

But is the American military turning their backs on the Commander in Chief? Showing contempt for him? Going AWOL with the endorsement of their superiors? Shirking their duty? Booing and jeering at him at a graduation ceremony? No. They, after all, are not unionized…

In retrospect, Mayor de Blasio should’ve responded to the backs turning by firing people immediately. The NYPD needed to be reminded that chain of command exists, and that they are not at the top of it. Instead, what New York City is experiencing now amounts to nothing less than open rebellion by the lone armed force under the worst kind of weakened junta, one led by a figure ideologically radical and personally weak, who has lost control of his bureaucracies and may soon be devoured by them.

What if the “broken windows” theory is correct and the work slowdown causes an increase in disorder and thus more serious crime? The NYPD will have put the safety and perhaps even the lives of New Yorkers in jeopardy to punish a politician for purportedly disrespecting them. Such a course might succeed in decreasing de Blasio’s popularity. But the public is unlikely to think that willfully putting New Yorkers in jeopardy to settle a political score is a forgivable tactic. It is certainly at odds with the notion that NYPD officers represent “New York’s finest,” heroes who willingly sacrifice themselves to protect and serve…

The right should greet it with the skepticism they’d typically summon for a rally on behalf of government workers as they seek higher pay, new work rules, and more generous benefits. What’s unfolding in New York City is, at its core, a public-employee union using overheated rhetoric and emotional appeals to rile public employees into insubordination. The implied threat to the city’s elected leadership and electorate is clear: Cede leverage to the police in the course of negotiating labor agreements or risk an armed, organized army rebelling against civilian control. Such tactics would infuriate the right if deployed by any bureaucracy save law enforcement opposing a left-of-center mayor.

It ought to infuriate them now. Instead, too many are permitting themselves to be baited into viewing discord in New York City through the distorting lens of the culture war, so much so that Al Sharpton’s name keeps coming up as if he’s at the center of all this. Poppycock. Credit savvy police union misdirection. They’re turning conservatives into their useful idiots. If the NYPD succeeds in bullying de Blasio into submission, the most likely consequence will be a labor contract that cedes too much to union negotiators, whether unsustainable pensions of the sort that plague local finances all over the U.S., work rules that prevent police commanders from running the department efficiently, or arbitration rules that prevent the worst cops from being fired. Meanwhile, Al Sharpton will be fine no matter what happens. Will the law-and-order right remain blinded by tribalism or grasp the real stakes before it’s too late?