Nearly two weeks after George Floyd’s provocative murder, protesters across America have taken up various slogans in their fight against police brutality and supposed systemic racism.
Many of these have taken the form of hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, such as #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and #BlackLivesMatter. Recently, though, a new hashtag has stolen the spotlights of Twitter and Instagram, and even seen partial implementation in several American cities.
#DefundThePolice can apparently mean many things, despite its narrow and controversial face. And, to be fair, some do actually want to defund the police as a means to abolish the institution. Others want to reallocate police funding to areas like social services and community development, while simultaneously making the argument that police are relied upon too much in America.
That idea isn’t totally incorrect. Between 3% and 10%, or between 7.2 and 24 million, of 911 calls are related to mental health. Police typically aren’t trained for those situations, which is why nearly 3,000 communities nationwide have integrated Crisis Intervention Teams into their police departments. These CITs have led to a direct decrease in officer injury, mental health arrests, and have given people suffering with mental illnesses the help they need.
In light of recent events, police departments have also seen restrictions on their use of force. The Breonna Taylor Law in Louisville, Kentucky bans the use of no-knock warrants entirely. Austin, Texas’ City Council banned all choke-hold maneuvers outright. The Senate GOP has even introduced a police reform bill, the JUSTICE Act, which is intended to improve the ability of local governments to identify wrongful uses of force and prosecute accordingly.
These reforms represent major progress, and yet they’re constantly being downplayed. Instead of seeing these historic steps taken, the media is flooded with virtue signaling celebrities calling for the defunding and eventual abolition of an institution that has been a major part of the massive decrease in crime the United States has seen in the last 20 years.
Defunding the police doesn’t stop police from committing fatal shootings, either. Defunding the police only removes the police’s ability to respond to crime in effective, non-lethal ways. In 2008, during the Great Recession, the town of Vallejo, California slashed its police department by nearly half, from 150 officers to just 80.
Nearly a third of the town’s homicides in 2012 were committed by police, and not one Vallejo officer has been fired, or even disciplined, to this day.
Defunding the police only creates a scarcity of resources which, as seen in too many communities, leads to an increase in violent crime on both sides. Rather than take those resources from communities, towns and cities need to invest in their police departments. By taking money out of prisons and funding police-administered community outreach & development programs, communities can help their members recover. By hiring more police officers, not less, violent crime will decrease. By integrating social workers and local professionals, sufferers of mental illness can get the help they need.
By funding and reforming our police departments, we can provide the change Americans are desperate for.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.