I hope I’m not the only person who witnessed pure panic in the eyes of relatives, family members, friends, coworkers, etc. when Minneapolis made the decision to defund their police. As expected, everyone went into a tailspin. Lots of questions like:
– Who’s going to keep us safe?
– Who do I call when I have an emergency?
– Abolish? As in totally gone?
As well as many other colorful alterations to questions like that. So, what does “defund the police” actually mean? Let’s get one thing straight first. The police, over time, have been expected to fix every issue we have. We have involved them in our lives so much where now, the lines are blurred. Think about it; who do you call when your next-door neighbor is being too loud? The police. Who do you call when your neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking? The police. Who do you call when a mother “can’t control” their son (yes, people do this)? The police. Why? We have completely incapacitated ourselves as a society to function and do basic things like telling your neighbor to turn the music down, to kindly help your dog, or parent your own child (obviously, if not life-threatening) and have expected them to fix these things for us. So, of course, people are going to freak out when they hear “defund the police”.
Defunding the police does not mean completely do away with policing. In a perfect society, it would work. Obviously, we aren’t there yet. What it means is that we pull from their $115 billion funding and put some of the money into affordable housing, the education system, mental-health counseling, substance abuse treatment, etc. Putting money into these very critical, often historically underfunded, areas will actually help fix a lot of issues we are having as a society. For example, the Department of Education and the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s funding were drastically cut in the 1980s. Together, they suffered a $225 million cut and the United States allocated that money to the FBI’S anti-drug funding and the DEA to fight the “War on Drugs” (don’t get me started on this.)that shit).
What will putting that money back do? Putting money back into substance abuse treatment will help those who can’t afford to go to rehabilitation centers. It will create more opportunities for drug education and easier access to rehabilitation programs for those who need it. As for the education system, being able to pay teachers a fair salary, providing tools, equipment, and supplies for their classrooms so it isn’t coming out of their own pocket. Teachers are grossly underpaid which can reflect on their ability to teach if they are not able to maximize their potential due to lack of funding. Defunding the police would also take some of the responsibility away from the police. There would be social workers or particular police officers who are trained specifically in certain areas to respond to different calls. For example, domestic violence. A call would come in and they would either dispatch a social worker, specialized police officer, or both to the scene to take care of the situation at hand. Police officers are trained for 5/6 months and then are expected to be able to respond to every type of call a particular way. That is us putting way too much faith in them. If you train them for particular areas and for them to become experts, it would help create a more conducive environment in which they are able to do their job effectively.
Do I think we should defund the police? Yes. We have funneled way too much money and faith into these men and women to protect us after only 6 months of training. Think about it, that’s little over a semester of school. I think this would be a step in the right direction to help the societal issue we are currently facing today.