Patrick Hampton / Dec. 12, 2020

Defund Police, Destroy Prosperity

Men and women in blue are being forced out of the most desperate communities.

Defunding the police is a popular notion espoused by the most radical of left-wing politicians and activists. Prominent voices in the black community support this idea that less policing would result in saved lives by way of reduced police brutality. But what does “defunding the police” really look like for our most desperate communities?

For nearly a decade, Black Lives Matter supporters have used brute force to push their narrative regarding police brutality, leveraging the rarest instances of police stops resulting in the death of a suspect. Starting with the Trayvon Martin case, progressives have villainized law enforcement officers across the nation. In 2020, the George Floyd case quite literally set cities on fire, taking with it members of the police force. Just two months after the incident took place in Minneapolis, “nearly 200” law enforcement officers applied to leave their positions, with similar instances occurring in other riot-ravaged areas. Despite this, the city council recently voted to redirect $8 million from the police budget to “violent prevention,” among other services.

A full-on “defunding” has yet to take place, yet police officers are already leaving in significant numbers. Disrespected and abused, the men and women in blue are being forced out of the most desperate communities to an unknown fate. Video testimonies and personal posts all highlight the painful decision to hang their hats for good.

So what does a world without police look like?

According to the Defund the Police website, the term defunding the police “does not mean the abolishing of community safety.” So what should it mean? The website goes on to explain how there are “alternatives” to law enforcement services that are “more effective.” It also includes decriminalization, disarmament, and demilitarization. Some municipalities even suggest replacing law enforcement with social workers. But this isn’t right. None of these demands is of sound logic.

For one, what person decides who is most effective at the scene of a crime? Law enforcement officers have upheld the tried-and-true tradition of being able to mitigate sensitive and potentially fatal situations unlike any other public safety sector. It’s not simply about protecting the life of the person of interest and the officer but also the lives of those nearby. A social worker isn’t trained to engage with anyone but his or her own client with whom he or she has an existing medical relationship. And in many of these cases, there’s little time for observation and questionnaires — even in cases when mental health is a concern. This only serves to add an additional person in harm’s way — for the inevitable police officer to arrive anyway. Case in point, the swift response of a true first responder will always be essential in the eyes of the people being protected. Defunding this only delays the help when time is of the essence.

Imagine if police officers were disarmed. While studies suggest that few police interactions require deadly force that would require a gun or weapon, people do tend to feel safer when police are around. Part of that has to do with the fact that police officers are armed. A friend or neighbor doesn’t offer the same peace of mind, much less an unarmed police officer — especially in desperate urban areas where homicides are highest. An unarmed officer is another sitting duck, another victim in a potential crossfire. This would call for the dispatch of even more police to rectify an unfortunate situation that could have been prevented with just one armed officer nearby.

Finally, imagine decriminalization, a notion echoed by many on the far Left. To the naive, it sounds like the libertarian thing to do — live and let live. This sounds good until someone runs low on his supply and decides that robbing his neighbor is the best course of action. Remember, drugs impair judgement, and while some argue that drug users aren’t all bad, law enforcement officers know exactly how illicit substances influence fatal interactions with others. Decriminalization only allows for this plague of bad judgment to proliferate, leading to physical abuse of spouses and children, neglect of minors and the elderly, and destruction of property — all mitigated with the presence of law enforcement to discourage its use and sale. This is why defunding police is hardly a remedy.

To those who maintain their argument for divesting funds away from local police forces, I challenge you to do a ride-along in the worst neighborhoods in your area. If the fear you experience doesn’t make your stomach turn upside down, then we can discuss alternative methods to law enforcement. Until then, you need them, possibly more than you could ever know.

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