Defunding The Police, What Does That Look Like?

So it seems that riots have generally been calmed down and the marches and protests across the country have been peaceful. Our cities have been safer the last few nights. Now, this could be because there is nothing left for the rioters and looters to destroy and steal but regardless curfews are being lifted. It will take a while to get the cities back to what they were, especially, when you compound the riots with the pandemic. Hopefully the we can rebound as soon as possible.

And while the protests are continuing across the country, it is important that we don’t lose sight of what is actually being marched on for change. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, the Civil Rights Acts that were passed focussed on voting rights, ending segregation, and furthering equal economic opportunities for African Americans. There are still ways to go.

So when we look at the protests in 2020 the overarching theme of all of them is ending police brutality and systemic racism. In order to combat these there have been massive marches across the country. The call to action for these protests has been coined by the Black Lives Matter movement themselves and seems to have become the #DefundThePolice initiative.

Currently, this has emerged as the most mainstream goal of the BLM movement, and it is important to look beyond just the surface of what that actually means, because it can’t just mean that our governments – local, state, and federal – just stop protecting regular, law abiding citizens, right?

Yes, we should look at how police and law enforcement budgets are distributed. According to the DOJ in 2017, the federal government allocated $29billion to policing. I don’t know the ins and outs of the budget but I’m sure like with every budget there are serious areas that need to be fixed and that are wasting taxpayer dollars.

I think we should emphasize training programs and look into making the average police academy longer than just a 4 month process.

It’s crazy how it takes 4 years for so many Americans to get a meaningless college degree but it only takes about 4 months to be certified as an officer of the law. Kinda tells you a lot.

But the idea that we are going to disband the police force is almost numbing to the mind. And if people take the idea of defunding the police literally then we could be in for some scary times, for everyone. At the epicenter of the riots, Minneapolis, they are already taking action to dismantle their police force. Lisa Bender, President of Minneapolis city council, dropped a jarring sound bite below this morning.

I understand the overall point of what she is trying to say. But wow did she do a terrible job doing it. I think what she is going for is that policing for non-violent things might not need a traditional cop to come and diffuse a situation. She gives some more details here. A possible example could be someone who has been reported as a suspect of self harm. They might not need an officer who carries handcuffs and a gun to calm them down. That is where some of the reallocation of the money goes, in having better mental health services. But the idea of someone’s house getting broken into and not having a 911 number to call because of their “privilege” is almost asking for more chaos from criminals.

How can anyone reassure safety in any community when you can’t answer a question like this? For reference, the FBI estimates there is a burglary in the US every 26 seconds. If you call for an actual defunding of the police then you need to clearly lay out a plan to solve a problem as frequent as that.

Jaylen Brown said on twitter yesterday that, “Educational inequality is the most subtle form of racism” and I really do agree with that. That is where we need to do a better job in serving our communities, and where we can be most effective, in my opinion. The better we educate people the better chance we have for us to realize that we are all fighting together and not against each other.

We do have to invest in our communities. We have to spend smarter. But we can’t do that with just a broad stroke of taking away the institution that is supposed to keep everyone safe.

In inner cities we should create better programs for minorities who have not been receiving an adequate education from public schools. I talked about how we need to have better schooling for everyone last week.

We have to change our education structure and fix our archaic public schools. I believe this would greatly reduce the amount of racism and other forms of hate we see in the country.

We should have better training for our cops, too. Those who pledge to keep our communities safe should be given the most effective resources in order to accomplish that. They should know how to properly treat people and not make situations worse when they show up. No one should feel threatened by our law enforcement and no one should ever have to experience what happened to George Floyd.

There are actions that we can take to progress the country. But just like the riots and anarchy, literally burning and tearing our institutions down won’t fix that. Those with power are currently paying attention so let’s get to work with real, attainable solutions. Let’s really send a message of unity and address the problems we have with achievable solutions.

Cheers and stay safe.

@jacklesser_ & @thoughtless44

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