Although it’s hard to see what the rioters and looters are really doing when they’re breaking into stores and burning mattresses in the streets, it comes down to one thing. Defund the police departments.
After all, in their minds, defunding is a way to avoid corrupt cops. Defunding is a way to improve other areas, like housing and social services.
Officials at police unions want to paint a clear picture of what defunding really does. Dennis Slocumb, Vice President Emeritus for the International Union of Police Associations has said he’s concerned about some of the additional burdens that departments already understaffed will face.
To avoid issues like what happened with George Floyd ever happening again, there’s the need for more training. Police officers need to learn tactics that won’t lead to death. They need to receive continuous training to avoid any kinds of mistakes on the streets.
Defunding leads to less training.
Defunding leads to less equipment.
Defunding leads to fewer officers.
There are two different movements happening simultaneously in the country. One wants to abolish police forces altogether – and Seattle is experiencing how well that is going firsthand. The other wants to defund police departments to allocate money to other resources in the community.
By defunding the police departments, the idea would be to take a part of the budget and apply it to social services. That would allow social services to take over some of the roles previously assumed by the police department.
Right now, if there’s a mental illness or another issue, the police are generally called because there’s no one else to respond. Defunding puts the money into social services so that social services take that call.
Great, social services needs more money – and they should be the ones dealing with mental illnesses. But that doesn’t mean that the police department should be defunded as a result of insufficient money in another department. Additionally, that’s assuming that the police wouldn’t still be called in on the issue.
How long would it take for social services to be able to handle such calls? Could they be routed right from the 911 call to go deal with the issue? It’s not that easy.
Defunding to give to another department makes sense but it’s not the answer.
However, those on the streets are not looking to simply defund the police to help other aspects of the community. They’re looking to defund the police to punish them.
As the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Cullors says, “it means we are reducing the ability of law enforcement to have resources that harm our communities.”
So, according to Black Lives Matter, the resources the officers have are being used to harm our communities.
How does responding to a 911 call harm the community? Without the funding, officers won’t have the training, the equipment, or anything else needed to respond to the calls. They won’t be able to deal with crimes, support the firefighters during house fires, or anything else.
Cullors believes that no training is needed because she believes that police officers are “incapable” of providing a beneficial service in black communities.
She’s forgetting the human element. She argues that it’s not possible for every law enforcement officer to be “compassionate” and “caring” in black communities. However, that can be said of literally any human in any situation. There are always going to be bad seeds. The goal is to identify those bad seeds and remove them – not to get rid of everyone altogether.
Defunding leads to more problems, not fewer.
The problem is that Black Lives Matter wants one thing without really thinking the other through entirely. What happens when the police departments are defunded to a point that they cannot serve the black communities at all? What happens when someone in the black community dials 911 and an officer doesn’t show up?
If anything, the police departments around the country need more funds, not less.