In light of recent racial tension and the build-up of past tension, defunding the police has been a term used to respond to this tension. Recent victims of police brutality such as Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the publication of their deaths have caused everyone to re-evaluate how they view the police. African Americans who have known the injustice for many years knew law enforcement never did their job in regards to them which is to project and serve. But since more allies of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the rest of the world saw two injustices back to back, we decided as a whole it’s time for some action. With that being said, defunding the police is necessary because citizens feel in light of ongoing events law enforcement is not doing their job to protect and serve all citizens. As a result, the suggestion and advocacy of defunding the police have been brought up so that funding once used for lawn enforcement could be used elsewhere.
To use NYS as an example, the NYPD gets over “$5,612 (dollars in millions) in funding” (CBC 1) according to the Citizen Budget Commission. Within that $5,612 only $144 goes towards training all 35,450 officers that aren’t sergeants and captains with years of experience” (CBC 1). This information serves as background about the policy funding and the background of racial violence between minorities and law enforcement. An article was written by Hannah Jeon entitled “What Does "Defund the Police" Mean? Here's the Meaning Behind the Rallying Cry” elaborates as to why defunding the police has become a thing. The article states, “While while some organizations are indeed calling for the abolishment or dismantling of police altogether, "defunding the police" simply means reducing police department budgets and redistributing those funds towards essential social services that are often underfunded, such as housing, education, employment, mental health care, and youth services” (Jeon 1). This evidence presents the true meaning behind defunding the police. Out of the police in the NYS area “5,6219 (dollars in funding), there are services that receive so much less. The initial reasoning behind defunding the police is simple and Jeon makes it clear. The article states, “Today's police are tasked with responding to a vast variety of social issues and crises, from homelessness to mental illness — yet they're often not trained to handle such tasks on the daily. These social services [in which the money would go to] would address societal issues such as poverty, homelessness, and mental health more directly, therefore acting as a better deterrent to crime than law enforcement, which activists point out have historically been a harmful institution of systemic racism” (Jeon 1). Many social activists, celebrities, and community and political leaders understand that these issues such as poverty, homelessness, and mental health are a direct consequence of the lack of resources minorities, especially Black people, have access to. This is why they advocate defunding the police and re-focus those funds on social services that better the community.
Other countries around the world have maintained their law enforcement and analysts as well as citizens are wondering what the difficulty is for America. An article entitled, “Defund the police? Other countries have narrowed their role and boosted other services” by Karla Adam and Rick Noack elaborates on other countries that have a hold on their law enforcement. The article states, “Sweden: Health teams instead of police, Budget cuts to psychiatric services in the United States have resulted in police taking on a greater role in dealing with the mentally ill. An estimated 10 percent of police encounters involve people affected by mental illness. A Washington Post analysis found that 25 percent of those shot and killed by police in the United States in a six-month period in 2015 were in a mental health crisis” (Adam and Noack 1). Sweden is just one of the noted countries that understand the deep connection between mental health and the “disruption” to society. Once mental health is cared for, everyone is in a general state of tranquility where violence and crime are not part of the atmosphere. Instead of feeding into and essentially placing blame on the mentally ill like America, they’ve done the work to ensure everyone is cared for and crime is down. This is just one leading example for America to take after when it comes to the lead and need for law enforcement.
In conclusion, defunding the police simply means refocusing the funds to social services that prevent crime in the first place. If social services would address key issues that the police have proven themselves to be currently unable to handle. These issues include poverty, homelessness, and mental health which contribute to the “crime and disturbances” police deal with. Current racial tensions and the ongoing issue of law enforcement mishandling situations have encouraged citizens, activists, political and community leaders to come up with a solution to ensure the citizens at a disadvantage are protected. Several countries outside America and particularly in Europe have come up with successful methods to ensure the safety and protection of their citizens. These methods include health teams that specifically tackle mental health instead of police and independent oversight. Either one of these methods would be a step up from the current unacceptable situations.
The biggest misconception+ Clarification;
Does this mean y'all no longer what/need police?
Answer: That is not what defunding the police means. We still need responders but what we need are properly trained and equipped responders that don't result in violence as the first and only response. We need responders that can de-escalate the given situation effectively the first time, and judging by the individuals like Breonna Taylor and so many more that are dead, the police system now is incapable of doing so. This is why younger people advocating for defunding and often demilitarizing the police so young and old Black individuals can live. When something has been proven not to work over the decades, it's time to switch it up and find a new strategy.
Jeon, Hannah. “What ‘Defund the Police’ Means — and Why Some Activists Say Reform Is Not Enough.” Good Housekeeping, 22 July 2020, https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a33024951/defund-the-police-meaning/.
Adam, Karla, and Rick Noack. “Defund the Police? Other Countries Have Narrowed Their Role and Boosted Other Services.” Washington Post. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/police-protests-countries-reforms/2020/06/13/596eab16-abf2-11ea-a43b-be9f6494a87d_story.html. Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.
Seven Facts About the NYPD Budget | CBCNY. 12 June 2020, https://cbcny.org/research/seven-facts-about-nypd-budget.