2020 News

‘Defund the Police’

‘Defund the Police’ is an agenda which advocates the shifting of funds away from police departments and reallocating those funds to other government agencies.

The rationale is that police officers’ skill sets and training are often out of sync with the social interactions that they have. Police officers are trained to assume worst-case scenarios and to use forceful tactics to reduce real or perceived threats.

Some scenarios may be better addressed by mental health specialists, social workers, or victim advocates. The use of social service providers in some of these situations could reduce the possibility of police overreaction.

Some resources shifted away from law enforcement could be put invested into communities to fund schools, hospitals, food programs, recreational centers, trauma centers, housing, and to provide forgivable loans to local businesses.

This agenda is progressive and ambitious.

But wait, there’s more.

The police are our employees. It is up to us, the people, to make sure that the right candidates for police officers are hired; that we hire enough police officers to do the jobs we assign to them; to provide the training that they will need; make sure they have the right leadership within the department; establish adequate police stations, substations, and jails in the community; and to provide them with the equipment they need not only to do their job but to be safe. All of this is our responsibility.

But wait, there’s more.

Policing involve the court system. That’s our responsibility, too.

It is our responsibility to adequately fund trial and appeal courts at the state and federal levels.

Along with physical courthouses that will need maintenance and upkeep, the court system needs bailiffs, clerks, prosecutors, public defenders, case administrators, courtroom Deputies, language interpreters, court reporters, jury administrators, judicial executives, and legal secretaries. The functioning of the court system is our responsibility.

But wait, there’s more.

Policing also entails an adequately funded corrections system, also our responsibility.

In addition to the establishment and maintenance of correctional facilities, the corrections system is staffed by correctional officers, Probation Officers, Substance Abuse Counselors, Registered Nurses, Drug Enforcement Agents, Emergency Medical Technicians, social workers, Facilities Managers, Prison Chaplains, vocational counselors, prison wardens, dental hygienists, Public Information Officers, group counselors, Juvenile Corrections Officers, physicians and assistants, case managers, psychologists, food service staff, and special education teachers.

It is our responsibility to be sure that all of the above employees have the proper formal education, certifications, and skillsets necessary to be successful in their jobs.

It is our responsibility to provide social justice. The slogan ‘Defund the Police’ falls far short of capturing the enormity of that responsibility.

Thanks and a tip of the hat to Mia Sheridan for the image.

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