The Police Need to Be Defunded

Paisha Watkins, Staff Writer

There has been a pressing debate across the country in response to the murder of George Floyd, questioning if police departments should be defunded. To put it simply, yes, yes they should. However, what does this mean? The thought of completely defunding the police seems radical and, honestly, ridiculous. I will admit when I first heard the idea, I thought it was preposterous. If my home was being invaded or I was witnessing a crime, who would I call? Getting rid of the police was getting rid of my safety, but after hearing the debates rage on, I finally did my research. It is a common misconception that defunding the police is getting rid of them completely when, in actuality, it is allocating the funds to other government agencies that will be better utilized by the needs of the community. 

The policemen involved in hate crimes and police brutality are often referred to as “bad apples,” but these bad apples have to come from somewhere, and that is a “bad tree.” The law enforcement system is corrupted to say the least. It is a system that cannot just be reformed; action needs to be taken. This conversation is extremely overdue for most activists as police brutality did not just begin with George Floyd, but this conversation is new to most people who were not as involved or knowledgeable about the subject, like myself. Police brutality has been an issue since the 19th century; only this century, it has become more prevalently an issue of racism. The racial injustice within the system is deep rooted; it cannot just be changed with more training for police. However, things that need to be implemented immediately are banning the choke hold and no-knock warrants. The system needs to change. In the meantime, the funds for police departments need to be cut significantly and spread evenly across communities. This way society can grow to help prevalent public safety problems, such as homelessness and mental health. 

Although the movement to defund the police is very strong, there is also the opposition. Many opposed say that defunding the police would be detrimental to the country rather than helpful. Some say the funds cut will not be used to reduce personnel or equipment, but to fund beneficial programs within the police department. The main argument, though, is that we need the police. With defunding, the 911 response time is going to greatly increase and the fear of crime will wreak havoc within communities. This is what I used to believe, until I actually did research. All it took was one educated article to show me that defunding the police is the right decision for states to make.

We must also think of this from a police perspective. We are requiring far too much from them. We rely on the police to write up traffic violations, respond to overdoses, make arrests, settle verbal arguments, and break up school fights. In another sense, defunding the police is making their responsibilities fewer, allowing them more time to focus on the jobs they should actually be working on, like serious emergencies. Instead of bringing a whole team of officers to someone having a psychological breakdown, funds can be used to send a mental professional. Police departments are ridiculously overfunded while the communities and services around them are underfunded. Redistributing the funds more equally would benefit everyone. These abundant funds would better be utilized to help improve housing, mental health, and many more needs of the community. Police officers are overworked and many components of their job should be completed by someone else so they are not rushed and incorrect. For example, officers are asked to write reports that are often gone through too quickly. In the Breonna Taylor case, her injuries were listed as “none.”  The world obviously knows that this was not the case, as she was murdered in her own home by officers, but that is an argument for another time. The point being made is that different government officials should be writing these reports so that they are not rushed by the police, risking false information. 

For now, we need to educate ourselves. Keep asking questions and keep doing research. We need to vote. We need to stand up for those that have not received the justice they deserved. The police need to be defunded and there needs to be change. There is no better time to stand up for what you believe in now. Make your voice heard.