(UnitedVoice.com) – In cities and states across the country run by Democrats, calls are going out to defund police departments as nationwide protests continue over the police murder of George Floyd. Proponents of the idea say it’s past time that police officers be held accountable for bad behavior in African American communities. Opponents argue that having fewer, or no, police would destabilize communities and leave people less safe.
There is some debate as to what “defund the police” means. However, among Democrats, there is a growing chorus of belief that police cannot continue to exist as they have. For some time, they wanted to reduce police budgets and scale back police powers. Now, some want to get rid of them altogether.
What Does “Defund Police” Mean?
There doesn’t seem to be consensus on the meaning of “defund police.” In some areas, elected officials are considering complete elimination. In other regions, cities want to scale them back.
In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the movement since Floyd’s passing, the mayor and city council are discussing a measure that would eliminate police. In Los Angeles, elected officials are considering defunding them by millions of dollars, leaving a skeletal police force. New York City is facing a significant financial crisis with a $9 billion deficit, and the city council is considering a 5% to 7% cut to police.
The movement goes back several decades but was limited to fringe groups. It was largely driven by anger over isolated issues of police brutality and militarization of police forces. In other instances, it sprung up over the police being used to confront the issues of drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. Advocates believe police dollars could be better used by expanding social services and redefining what is and is not a crime.
Who Maintains Rule of Law?
While there is legitimate cause for concern about police abuse, the vast majority of police interactions are not overhanded. If police are severely limited or eliminated altogether, who will ensure crime is prevented, investigated, and people feel protected?
Ensuring better screening of recruits, proper training, and a change in law enforcement culture may be a more appropriate measure rather than defunding police departments at large.
In the absence of local police, citizens would have to uphold the rule of law themselves. In a society that is ready to convict in the court of public opinion without all the facts, that could be a dangerous proposition for everyone. For those who are anti-Second Amendment, how would they convince people they don’t need a weapon to protect themselves, their families, and their properties in the absence of a police force?
Elected officials have a lot to consider before rushing into large-scale public policy decisions such as defunding the police. Without any accountability, there will surely be a rise in crime followed by a backlash from the public.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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