Policing Diverts Billions Of Dollars From Schools Health Care And Other Vital Programs That Need More Funding To Strengthen Our Communities And Support Shared Well
U.S. cities collectively spend $100 billion a year on policing, while needed investments in education, health care, housing, and other critical programs go unfulfilled, particularly in poor communities and communities of color. New York City, for instance, spends more on policing than it does on the Departments of Health, Homeless Services, Housing Preservation and Development, and Youth and Community Development combined.
Our tax dollars must be reallocated from this system that regularly murders Black people with impunityand instead invested in programs that strengthen our communities.
‘defund The Police’ Is Dead But Other Reform Efforts Thrive In Us Cities
Two years after George Floyd was killed, a surge in violent crime in major cities across the country has effectively ended the “defund the police” movement that sprung up in the wake of his death. A new national poll by the University of Massachusetts Amherst finds that just 31 percent of Americans now support transferring funds from state and local police departments to community social services, a seven-point drop from a year ago. Meanwhile, with crime a hot-button issue in the upcoming midterm elections, moderate Democrats are more likely to call for additional money for law enforcement than for diverting itamong them, President Joe Biden, who called for a $30 billion increase in law enforcement spending in his State of the Union address in March to “fund our police and give them all the tools they need.”
“There’s now a broad conviction that creating public safety and addressing violence should no longer be considered purely or even primarily a police and criminal justice matter,” says criminologist David Kennedy, founder of the National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College in New York. “People don’t know how to make that happen, especially in the near term, but there’s been a real shift in the center of gravity on that issue.”
Here’s a look at some of the important law enforcement innovations and experiments currently sparking discussion across the country and what they may mean for the future of policing.
Reasons Why Defunding The Police Is A Bad Idea
As we enter a new year and a new political season, calls to defund the police from elected officials across the country will no doubt continue. There are many reasons why defunding the police is a bad idea, but we wanted to highlight a few of the most important reasons to keep in mind as these discussions continue.
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So You Dont Want To Defund The Police Heres Why You Should Fund Public Defense
Whether police admit it or not, their profession is on fire. They areincreasingly taskedwith jobs that fall outside their area of competence, from domestic violence response to crisis de-escalation to mental health first aid. And more police spendinghasnt paid the dividend of reduced crime.
Police officers in the U.S. have also proved to bedramatically more lethal than those in any other nation, killing more than a thousand civilians last year. Police violence echoes other deeply American forms of inequity against Black and brown people. The additional harm done through racial profiling, stop-and-frisk, racialized community surveillance and criminalizing children is difficult to quantify and exists at a near-universal scale. Still, detractors of reform on the right and left are threatening Americans with escalating unrest if we dare to modernize our philosophy on public safety.
In New York, where everyone lives in a constant state of pandemic-fueled whiplash, fearmongers are perfidiously warning people that Alvin Bragg, Manhattans new district attorney, will marshal the city into an era of crime and chaos given his pledge to seek jail or prison time for only the most serious crimes, unless the law requires otherwise. As D.A. Bragg hasdetailed repeatedly in laying out his evidence-based policies, the data doesnt support these litanies of fear, yet this catastrophist perspective persists.
You Won’t Save Lives And Build A Future With Less Crime By Cutting And Defunding
You won’t save lives and build a future with less crime by cutting and defunding
In a rare public display of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats exploded with applause during the State of the Union earlier this month, when President Biden declared that we must “fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with the resources and training resources and training they need to protect our communities.” Thats something many of us have been calling on for months and even years, especially given recent tragic news.Over the last two years in the United States, we have lost more than 900 police officers in the line of duty, including, tragically, two heroic NYPD officers earlier this year. In New Jersey, my home state, we have lost 20 officers in the line of duty in the last two years alone. Across our country, murder rates spiked 27% in 2020. Violent crime is up, and homicides are at their highest level in nearly three decades.
I represent 79 towns in Northern New Jersey. The officers in these departments dont have large budgets and staff, so things like cloud storage for body camera data and the necessary training and support for officers all put a huge strain on their budgets. If we want to protect our communities and officers, we must act now.
Now, does this bill cover everything? No, of course not. Are these critical steps to make much-needed investment in our local police? Yes.
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That All Sends A Message: Were Not Here To Protect And Serve Were Here To Pacify And Put Down
That all sends a message: Were not here to protect and serve. Were here to pacify and put down.
And like my choice of school attire, this message isnt just for the observer. Its for the wearer, too.
Theres no mistaking what youre there to do with a sport jacket across your shoulders and a piece of fabric knotted around your neck. Just as Im sure theres no mistaking your intent when you survey the public behind a plexiglass helmet with a heavy wooden club in your gloved fist.
Youre a soldier and the protesters are your enemy.
Any individual police officer can act differently, but if they do, theyre going against the tide.
To some that may sound kind of scary.
Defund the police? If we do that, who will protect us from violent criminals?
But hear me out.
Defunding the police doesnt have to mean abolishing the police .
For me, it means a radical reinvention of what it means to be a police officer and their role in our society.
Its not enough to suggest our law enforcers not dress like stormtroopers.
Its not enough that we ask often progressive mayors not to use their police as thugs and bullies.
Its not enough that we demand racists be screened out of the hiring process and for more rigorous training before officers become a permanent part of the force.
Why Are We Afraid Of Defunding The Police
Article In The Thread
How could society function without police? Its nearly impossible to imagine an America that doesnt heavily rely on armed law enforcement, even for those calling to defund the police and the growing number of Americans who recognize how policing contributes to structural racism. Cops are asked to mediate conflicts, manage traffic, patrol neighborhoods, mentor youth, and so much more. Theyre responsible for responding to everything from low-level crimes to violent emergencies. But advocates of defunding the police are not calling for the lawless, police-free world that critics fear. Instead, confronting our fear of defunding the police means shifting responsibilities that the police should never have had in the first place to a new class of unarmed public safety officers.
In 2020, defund the police became a rallying cry and policy platform for Americans fed up with ongoing brutality and murders by police officers that disproportionately affects Black and Brown Americans. Over a year and a half after the murder of George Floyd, the apologies and promises from politicians to reform policing, highlighted by their inability to reach a deal on a police reform bill, have become tools to divert momentum behind the call to defund the police.
The United States abolished slavery, we never abolished the legacy institution that enforced it.
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Policing In The Us Was Established To Maintain White Supremacy
The police are not a neutral body, and the institution is inherently biased. In the U.S. slave patrols and night watches were the beginning of a racially directed system of law enforcement designed to secure capital for white settlers.
Over the past 40 years, the expansion of racially targeted policing and policies such as stop-and-frisk and the war on drugs have helped fuel mass incarceration in the U.S., with African-Americans incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white people. Black and Brown people are disproportionately targeted from a young age, with hundreds of thousands of children ages six to 14 arrested, often by police officers stationed in schools as school resource officers.
Police forces have also become more militarized. Since 1990, the federal government has transferred $6 billion of excess military equipment to local law enforcement agencies under its 1033 Program, giving police access to mine-resistant vehicles, assault rifles, and grenade launchers. For years police have also undergone warrior training that teaches them to see every encounter as potentially life-threatening, especially when those encounters involve people of color. Every year on-duty police kill an estimated 1,000 people.
Whats more, a recent study revealed that hundreds of active duty officers from across the country are members of racist and anti-government groups on Facebook.
Police Are Breaking The Bank
One major reason to defund police is economic.
In some Canadian cities, public police budgets now account for more than 30 per cent of municipal budgets. The costs of policing are expected to surge even higher in the next decade.
These costs are creating structural deficits that municipalities will never escape from. On economic grounds alone, defunding police is an issue anybody interested in cities and public policy should have at the front of mind. This money should be reinvested in social programs, community development, mental health, transportation and housing.
Still, its necessary to go beyond economic claims and look at the politics. The politics of police are another reason for defunding.
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We Must Defund The Police It Is The Only Option
BLM Toronto co-founder Sandy Hudson on why defunding the police in Canada is critical to saving Black lives
A young woman takes a knee in front of police officers during a protest in San Jose, Calif., on May 29
Dear white people,
I have a singular focus in my appeal to you today, and I need you to hear me. Our lives depend on it. Its time to defund the police.
I believe that we can do better than the slipshod safety services the police claim to provide for us. I know many of you are unfamiliar with the everyday activities of the police. They do not patrol your neighbourhoods under the guise of providing safety. They do not stop you on the street under the pretense of protection. They do not kill your people with a casual and consistent regularity that announces, Your life is worthless.
Limit Contact With Police
A key way to reduce police violence and racism perpetuated against Black and Brown communities is to reduce contact between the public and police. To do that, we must shrink the size and power of the police force and re-assign responsibilities for social interventions away from police.
We must understand that police officers are not the solution to the challenges that our communities face. Instead, we need non-law enforcement first responders with training and expertise, not officers with guns. That means culturally competent clinicians with lived experiences respond to people in mental health crises, trained counselors intervene in domestic violence situations, and drug treatment specialists support those with substance abuse problems. We must be intentional about not recreating the system of policing in other sectors.
And we must continue to fight programs and policies that increase public contact with the police, including mass surveillance, stop-and-frisk, and the enforcement of low-level offenses.
Body Cameras Trainings And Other So
In Minneapolis and other U.S. cities, body cameras and other reform measures were implemented as part of the Obama administrations multimillion-dollar response to the call for police accountabilityand have proven largely ineffective.
- Body cams are regularly shut off by police and do not result in less violent behaviorwhile increasing surveillance of those being policed.
- Trainings on implicit bias for police have shown no demonstrable effect. In fact in Chicago, it was found that officers accused of abuses were leading the training.
- Community policingthe idea that if police and community work together, there will be more trust in the policedoesnt work, either. The practice deputizes white and wealthy community members to surveille their neighbors, resulting in even more police actions based on racist attitudes and beliefs.
Meanwhile, police murders continue, with 1,002 people shot and killed by police already this year.
We Should Still Defund The Police
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This summers uprising has forced a reckoning within the United States about the deep imprint of racism on our society. The public lynching of George Floyd pierced the veil of segregation that typically shrouds the realities in which millions of African-Americans livestraining under the mounting weight of Black death. Tens of thousands of African-Americans killed by the rapid spread of COVID-19, the taped execution of Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia, the reports of Breonna Taylors brutal killing by Louisville police, and then Floyds horrifying murder in Minneapolis brought home for a broader public the police state that exists in Black America.
Nascar renounced the flying of the Confederate flag at its events. , long an informal day of celebrations among some African-Americans, was suddenly institutionalized as a paid holiday. Former President George W. Bush condemned systemic racism. At one level, the rapid, reflexive default to offering symbolic recognition of racism was quite typical. No other country engages in the cavernous nothingness of the fake apology as frequently as the United States. In the case of Black Americans, it is most recognizable in the form of big-sounding civil-rights legislation that is eventually, as the historian Leon Litwack has written, compromised, deferred and undone.
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Tell Your Governor: Invest In Our Communities Not Policing
We need real change. Thats why we must stop investing in police and incarceration and instead intentionally invest in alternative models that are centered in community and address the root causes of harm, in addition to making greater investments in schools, health care, and other human needs that keep our communities safe.
Here is why we should all support the call to defund the police:
Outside The United States
In Canada, politicians in major cities have expressed interest in diverting some police funds. In Toronto, city councilors Josh Matlow and Kristyn Wong-Tam have planned to propose a 10% cut to the police budget. Doctors for Defunding the Police have advocated for widespread reforms. In Montreal, Mayor has said she is in talks about the police budget.
In Scotland, a violence reduction unit run by Police was set up in 2005, which aims to prevent violence with educational and outreach programs.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair criticized defund the police in a 2021 article for the New Statesman, describing it as “voter-repellent” and “the left’s most damaging political slogan since ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat.'” Blair furthermore claimed that the slogan “leaves the right with an economic message which seems more practical and a powerful cultural message around defending flag, family and fireside traditional values.” Both the leaderships of the British Labour Party and the Conservative Party have pledged not to defund the police force.
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How Can We Learn More Information And Help To Defund The Police
The No. 1 thing anyone can do who wants to help is to research how much of their citys budget goes toward police. You can then lobby your lawmakers to reallocate that spending toward healthcare, education, and housing. There are local efforts underway in Minneapolis and numerous major cities. If youre able to, attend your local city council meetings to be part of the conversation on the budget.
Reclaim the Block is a Minneapolis organization that encourages the city to move dollars away from the police and toward community-led safety initiatives. Communities United for Police Reform in New York City works to end discriminatory policing and seeks a $1 billion budget cut to the NYPD through its #NYCBudgetJusticeCampaign. In the least, you can sign the #DefundThePolice petition at Black Lives Matter.
Why Cant Joe Biden And Donald Trump Afford To Ignore This Issue
President Donald Trump quickly jumped to the polices defense and has stayed on the offensive, tweeting on June 11, The Radical Left Democrats: First they try to take away your guns. Then they try to take away your police!A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that just one in three support the movement to “defund the police,” while 39% support reducing the budget by shifting to programs related to mental health, housing, and education. Trump has sought to paint anyone who talks of defunding or redirecting any funds as a crazed liberal, and has announced his own plans for police reform.
Were working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation, Trump said at a roundtable with law enforcement in Dallas, according to Politico. Also, well encourage pilot programs that allow social workers to join certain law enforcement officers so that they work together.
Meanwhile, congress this week released the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which would, among other things, bar police departments from using chokeholds.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats have been the subject of public ridicule after fumbling the conversation about police reform in this country. Now, the presidential candidate will find himself in a precarious position as we enter into primary season and hes made it no secret hes not into defunding the police.