Over the years, a debate as to whether refund the police or not has been happening. This follows the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in Minneapolis, when the Black lives matter protests started, followed by calls to defund the police on social media and protest signs. George Floyd’s death occurred after being arrested in Minnesota outside a shop by police. After following up on the case, footage that showed a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was recovered. Derek was kneeling on Floyd’s neck while pinned to the floor in the footage. Even after pleading and saying he could not breathe twenty times, Derek and the other officers did not let go of Floyd. This was followed by his death which saw many protests on social media that demanded the ceasing of violence against people of color as they believed that defunding the police would end their violence against people of color, among other issues. The essay, therefore, discusses that defunding the police reduces violence and crimes against people of color, allows specialists and experts to step into different jobs, and because the suggested reforms on the police department and police officers have not been implemented.
Defunding the police reduces violence and crimes against people of color. The police have been labeled historically violent and oppressive against people of color. This follows the incidences that the police have oppressed black people, which led to protests. For instance, George Floyd’s case, which resulted in demonstrations on all social media platforms, gave a clear picture of how the police are against black people. It depicted how the police use force against people of color without listening to them. Furthermore, police departments are well equipped with military equipment and firearms, which escalates situations to violence as it gives the police the attitude that they are at war with communities. This is also evident in George Floyd’s case, where the police pulled a gun at him and used force to get him into their car. The police use their power and authority to oppress marginalized communities, primarily people of color. Defunding of the police could allow minor cases such as reducing the funds that are directed to the police departments means that there will be fewer police patrols and hence reducing the chances for police violence on individuals. Also, this means that the police will not handle minor cases, which will reduce their contact with individuals. Police oppression and violence against people of color and imprisoning them deprive them of their rights to vote, education, employment, access to housing, and other privileges that white people benefit automatically. In a study by Vitro et al. (2022), “police are 2.5 times more likely to kill black American men than white men and 1.4 times more likely to kill black women than white women.” The authors add that police are more likely to apply force on black Americans than white people. Defunding the police thus could be the solution to the increased violence and crimes from police as the police will not have to patrol actively for minor cases. Moreover, their response to fewer major cases presents fewer opportunities for violence.
Defunding the police allows specialists and experts to step into different jobs. Normally, police are not trained to perform the numerous tasks they perform. Most police handle challenges faced by the public that they are not the best fit to handle and should not handle. For instance, police receive 911 emergency calls that are mental health emergency cases that are supposed to be directed to mental health services for quick and professional assistance. Also, calls such as those related to minor and community-related crimes such as juvenile delinquency and physical disorders as they initiate the use of force and several arrests by the police even though they are minor offenses. According to Lum et al. (2020), reducing the involvement of police in minor crimes experienced in the community can reduce discrimination and the use of force by the police. When defunded, the funds can be directed to community programs that ensure youths are trained after school to reduce their chances of being involved in criminal activities. This also means that fewer police will be patrolling in communities, reducing their chances of oppressing or using force against communities. In a study by Cobbina et al. (2022), 16 of the 28 participants felt that defunding the police and relocating the funds to other social works, such as helping people with mental illness, is necessary. A participant from the study revealed how the police treated them like criminals instead of helping them out. He says, “The police busted into my house and then treated me like a criminal. I was not hurting anybody else. I was trying to commit suicide, and they made it ten times worse by handcuffing me, dragging me to the hospital, handcuffing me to the bed.” (Cobbina et al., 2022). This reflects what happens in society when the police are involved in handling cases they are not professionally trained for. Thus, defunding the police and reallocating the funds to mental health departments would be a better deal to help deal with victims of suicide and mental health patients accordingly. Furthermore, such funds can be reallocated to improve educational systems. This will help develop a culture of preventing rather than curing, for instance, training more mental health specialists who can identify and deal with people who are suicidal early enough before they commit suicide.
Since defunding the police means moving funds from the police department and transferring them to other community developments such as housing, mental health, and social work, the public believes that defunding the police can help improve the quality of life for different communities. Defunding the police is a way of allowing more funds into the community programs that will reduce the need for police. Such programs include neighborhood organizations that involve the youth in activities and programs that reduce their involvement in violent activities (Ahern, 2021). Moreover, these programs can help to keep the community safe as community leaders will take that as their primary task. Additionally, defunding the police and allocating the funds to creating jobs for incarcerated individuals, housing, and training more mental health professionals is beneficial. This is because creating such jobs reduces the involvement of formerly incarcerated individuals in criminal activities. Thus, defunding the police department is a crucial step.
Police should be defunded because the suggested reforms on the police department and police officers have not been implemented. Several reforms have been proposed regarding the police and police departments. For instance, suggestions for police to receive mental health training to help in case of mental health crises have been made, but none have been implemented. This is according to Ahern (2021), who also adds that suggestions have been made for police to reduce the use of force when dealing with individuals, especially communities of color. The police department reform programs are accompanied by massive funding, but none of the reforms is implemented. Since none of the suggested reforms has been implemented, the only way to control the use of force on people and harassment of non-criminal individuals needing professional help is by defunding the police and directing the funds to the necessary departments as a way of reducing police misconduct. (Su & Binder, 2022). When defunded, the funds can be used to train police officers on how to de-escalate situations, procedural justice, and reconciliatory procedures that the police can apply when dealing with individuals. Furthermore, such funds can be used to train the police on the anti-bias techniques that the police can apply to reduce biases when dealing with people of color. With such techniques, the police can deal with all individuals justly, regardless of their color or race.
As discussed above, it is clear that the police should be defunded. This is because violence and crimes against people of color will be reduced. As the police have been using force and oppression against people of color, defunding them will reduce their contact with the public and reduce violence against communities of color. Secondly, defunding the police will ensure specialists and experts step into different jobs. For instance, such funds can be directed toward mental health training and community programs that reduce criminal activities. It also ensures that only professionals will deal with cases that need their attention rather than having the police deal with everything. Moreover, defunding the police is a sure way of ensuring the reforms suggested are implemented. For instance, programs to train the police as mental health specialists and to reduce the use of force on individuals have not been implemented, but funds are allocated. Defunding the police thus reduces contact between them and the public, thus reducing the chances of violence and violence. Thus, the police should be defunded.
Ahern, M. (2021). “Defunding” the criminality of mental illness by funding specialized Police training: How additional training and resources for dealing with mental health will be beneficial for all sides. Journal of Law and Health, 35(1), 181–209.
Cobbina‐Dungy, J., Chaudhuri, S., LaCourse, A., & DeJong, C. (2022). “Defund the police:” Perceptions among protesters in the 2020 March on Washington. Criminology & Public Policy, 21(1), 147–174.
Su, R., O, R. A., & Binder, G. (2022). Defunding Police Agencies. Emory Law Journal, 71(6), 1197–1271.
Vitro, C., Clark, D. A., Sherman, C., Heitzeg, M. M., & Hicks, B. M. (2022). Attitudes about police and race in the United States 2020–2021: Mean-level trends and associations with political attitudes, psychiatric problems, and COVID-19 outcomes. PLoS ONE, 17(7), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0271954