Defunding the Police – A Return to the Wild Wild West

By Michael J. Whitlock

June 5, 2020

Even prior to the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody a was a movement to end the use of cash bail, probation, parole and close jails and prisons. In fact, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms moth-balled the Atlanta City jail in 2019. “We have taken another critical step forward in the march for criminal justice reform…”. There is a movement now to defund the police.
It was reported June 3, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Officials were cutting as much as $150 Million from the LAPD budget. Members of the Minneapolis City Council are seeking to disband that city’s police department. Councilmember Steve Fletcher tweeted, “Several of us on the council are working on finding out what it would take to disband the MPD and start fresh with a community oriented non-violent public safety and outreach capacity.”
A return to lawlessness is not a policy that will benefit any American particularly those in low income areas of our country. Without a taxpayer funded police force, individuals and business with financial means will higher security for personal protection and protection of assets. More and more citizens will look to firearms to provide personal protection. Small business owners and those with insufficient means will once again receive the short end of the stick. Unequal protection will not be eliminated only exacerbated.
In my view, taking a position that due to a few bad actors, an entire system should be abolished is short sighted and ill-advised. To close a hospital because one doctor gives the wrong diagnosis would never be entertained. Ousting an entire legislative body because its elected representatives passed bad legislation would never happen. That’s why we have election. In the case of law enforcement, regulations and oversight boards are in place to address alleged wrongdoing. Regulation and oversight of law enforcement is the area where reforms need to take place not doing away with the entire system.
Absent public funding, law enforcement agencies would have to seek out private funding. They would no longer receive Federal grants for drug courts and rehabilitation programs. This would not be well received. I for one do not want to see police uniforms and cruisers sporting logo decals and wraps from private sponsors, pizza places, car dealerships and the like.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement was tragic and wholly unnecessary and should never happen again. Defunding the police, closing prisons, ending the use of bail is not the solution. As a functioning society, law and order must be maintained. Our citizens must be made to feel safe in our communities without living with fear of dread. Today there are members of our communities that do live with fear and dread and this must be remedied now. This can be done through interaction, intense dialogue and meaningful legislation. The answer is not to defund the police and returning to the Wild Wild West, we must move forward not backwards.

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