The New York City police officers who turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio at the recent funerals of two slain officers were within their rights – no matter how boorish that behavior.

What members of the force aren’t entitled to do is to stop doing the job for which they get paid. In refusing to enforce the law, the police are jeopardizing public safety and undermining any claim they have for respect from the community.

For two weeks in a row, the number of arrests and summonses throughout New York City has plummeted in what appears to be a work slowdown to show rank-and-file displeasure with de Blasio. This comes amid the tension between police and city hall that followed the Dec. 20 slayings of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Police union officials denied organizing any work action, and Police Commissioner William Bratton said other theories – the holiday season, a dip in 911 calls, the period of mourning for the dead officers – might account for the numbers.

We hope that is the case and that the return to normal policing is accompanied by a more responsible discussion of the issues facing police and the communities they serve.

Police work is difficult, sometimes thankless and often dangerous, a point tragically underscored by the deaths of Officers Ramos and Liu. Nonetheless, there are legitimate concerns – felt throughout the country – about some aspects of policing, as amplified by recent cases of unarmed black men killed in encounters with the police. These bear scrutiny, and if that scrutiny can lead to useful reform, everyone, police included, should welcome the progress.