Why we need to continue funding the police
By Glen Wallace
The question has arisen as to whether or not to defund the police. What would that mean? Some vague notion has been presented of a community volunteer force. What would that entail? I understand that domestic disputes is a fairly common call that police respond to and it is one of their most dangerous calls as those situations are often volatile, unpredictable and violent. How many people would be willing to volunteer to respond to such calls? The same question would apply in stalking cases where a violent stalker is violating a restraining order.
When the autonomous zone existed in Seattle there were roaming individuals carrying guns enforcing something. But what were they enforcing and who appointed them? As far as I know, the gun carrying individuals weren't elected by anyone nor were they enforcing laws democratically agreed upon. What can develop in those sorts of situations is a state of socioeconomic Darwinism where the makers and rulers of the law are the ones with the most firepower. I had watched some youtube videos where the videographers within the autonomous zone were approached in a somewhat intimidating manner with interrogating questions about what the youtuber was doing there. There is all sorts of opportunity for graft and corruption when loose oversight of law enforcement occurs.
Granted, the oversight of community enforcement doesn't have to be loose as it was at the Seattle autonomous zone, but if the oversight is strict, then I start to wonder what is the difference. Would the new community enforcement be the exact same thing as the original police force, but just going by a different name this time around? There is also the danger that, were police to be defunded, protective security then only be available to those that can afford to pay for private security. Ironically, some members of the Minneapolis City Council who have been the most vocal supporters of defunding the police, have received thousands of dollars worth of private security protection, paid for by the city, due to threats they received. So, then, would it be just the bureaucrats and plutocrats that would have security and everyone else would be left to fend for themselves in a state of jungle law or survival of the fittest? That doesn't sound like a very progressive scenario. The reality is that there are always some bad apples out there that the peaceful public need to be protected from. If the city council members are being threatened, then the threateners are some bad apples. Domestic abusers are bad apples. Vandals are bad apples. The list goes on. If we then take it as a given that protection is a needed service in any civilization, then will it be something offered as a public service provided to everyone or is it only going to be a service provided to those who can afford it or who are in positions of power within the government as in the case of those Minneapolis City Council members?
Additionally, defunding of the police is a rallying cry of those who claim to be populists. But I have seen no evidence that defunding the police is the least bit popular outside of the fringe left. I think that for the nation to make meaningful progress, we need to leverage the support of the many for popular causes across the political spectrum. I could be wrong, but I think that campaigning to defund the police will only alienate the silent majority masses from the other causes of the progressive left that do have popular support -- such as workers rights, regulations that protect the consumer and the environment, Medicare for all.
I think police reform is both viable and necessary. For instance, officers should be required to record the race of the driver for all vehicle stops, the reason for the stop, and the result of the stop. A database could then be compiled that could be used to ascertain if racial profiling has been occurring and hold the offending officers accountable for their actions.