Over and over again the term, “Defund the Police” is screamed from the rooftops in various circles. It is a mantra contrived partially of ignorance and partially of pandering. In fact, when considered logically, the statement makes no sense in the context in which it is often used. It would be more accurate to yell, “abolish the police,” than simply speaking to funding that is counterintuitive to the typical follow-up statements made.
When it is actually discussed and not simply used as divisive rhetoric, the defunding of the police statement usually leads to a conversation about policing tactics, training, and the need for increased mental health resources. The need for mental health resources allows for safer interactions between law enforcement and the public. It is also true that these resources are also needed for the officers themselves and should be a priority of all law enforcement agencies.
Most people understand that defunding the police is not only a bad idea; it is quite simply not a solution. It is actually dangerous rhetoric that ignores increased budgets is precisely how the commonly agreed needs could be implemented. It would be difficult to wade into these waters of why these statements are still made when they are so obviously unhelpful without looking at the various political agendas and intentionally polarizing comments that cycle around all of social media.
We, you and I, can change this. We must change this. As we continue to have the wrong conversations, we allow these statements to spiral out of control to their inevitably tragic end of increased crime and decreasing officer retainment. All the while, we are failing to have the essential conversations that could bring about positive and lasting change within law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
It is also arrogant as a response to the notion of defunding the police to act as though there is no room for improvement in the law enforcement profession. It is equally valid that law enforcement should always be in a continuous process of improvement and defunding law enforcement is not a rational way to bring about this needed improvement.
It is equally valid that law enforcement should always be in a continuous process of improvement and defunding law enforcement is not a rational way to bring about this needed improvement.
We all should have a role in this discussion, and we all have a vested interest in having the proper conversation. Suppose we choose to simply ignore the rhetoric and not engage in the public square, then in time, we will lose the opportunity to discuss what could have led to positive change.
Some well-meaning people are uncertain of how to respond when they hear this slogan repeated frequently. They see the need for increased training within law enforcement while understanding that defunding is not the answer. This is where the conversation should start.
The path forward is simple, even if it is not easy. When we hear this catchphrase being bantered about mindlessly, we must speak out. We have to change the conversation to funding the police and follow up with the improvements that can be brought as we continue to invest in those willing to selflessly serve their communities. A narrative of support for both the officers and the community they serve while simultaneously increasing communication and resources is the discussion that can bring about positive change.
This Blog Post Appeared first at OnTheBlueLine.com. All Rights Reserved. 2021
Wayne Mulder is a law enforcement officer, speaker, writer and the host of the On The Blue Line podcast. Wayne is an advocate for law enforcement officer total health programs and a believer in empowering law enforcement officers in their personal lives. For more on his mission visit OnTheBlueLine.com.