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Demosthenes's avatar

What would "defunding the police" really look like?

Asked by Demosthenes (13037points) December 19th, 2020
10 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

This question has been asked before, but I would like to be able to ask it again given the rapidly-evolving political situation that has been this year. Mods please don’t delete this.

The slogan has been implicated as a cause of the Democrats’ poor performance in down-ballot elections. Leftists insist that this is a scapegoat and that defunding the police is a winning message. Many Democratic politicians, including Joe Biden, have made it clear that they do not want to defund the police.

The problem is: “defund the police” is a protest slogan, not a policy proposal. So for those who do support defunding the police: what would that look like? Is “defunding” the same as “dismantling/abolishing”? Does it mean “demilitarize” but otherwise leave the police the same? “Overpolicing” exists in both poor and wealthy neighborhoods. The area I grew up was notorious for its bloated police force that spent a lot of time pestering white teenagers.

What is the actual policy change that would occur? What specifically would be defunded and what would the alternative to policing be?

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SQUEEKY2's avatar

Rep/cons go on and paint a wild west type picture, we need the Police that is a fact as one little wulf always says,I can see some funding pulled and placed with other branches, cops don’t always respond well to a mental health call,and maybe those types of professionals would be better to respond.
Police do need better training in some fields that is again a fact.
As for defunding them I dont have a clue as to how much in one area where other areas need more funding, complex to say the least.

_____'s avatar

@Demosthenes: “The problem is: “defund the police” is a protest slogan, not a policy proposal.”

Sure. But this is completely ok. The policy can come later. Sometimes promoting an intention can be sufficient in the moment. If the police are seen as domestic terrorists that are paid for by taxpayers, then an intention to limit or cut funding for them is to take a moral stand and a declaration that will shape policy.

Many people have different ideas of what “defund the police” should/will mean, and that’s ok. It’s ok because we understand that the police are part of the problem – not part of the solution. Of course there are those that simply mean demilitarizing the police and reducing the size of the police force, while others want a more radical approach to reducing state terrorism by cutting funding altogether. These are not incompatible ideas. The source of these intentions is what is important, and it puts the police on notice. Police departments need to justify their existence and role in an ostensibly democratic society. And since their salaries are paid for by the very people who they are terrorizing, calling for their defunding is a reasonable first step.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Reallocating” would be a a better word than “defund.”

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s a call for repurposing, retrraining, and reorganizing some the problematic police forces, including adjusting their budgets.

What I would do is have very intelligent specialists analyze the problems leading to the various ways the police has not been serving the public, such as killing, injuring, tormenting and harassing people for being black or non-white or poor or legally protesting, or otherwise over-reaching, needlessly spying on everyone, etc. The specialists would recommend new mission statements, retraining and reorganization. Detecting and ejecting racists, corrupt people, and other nasty characters, and developing ways to prevent those from taking hold again, would be part of the re-organization.

The defunding part, for me, would probably be around de-militarization, and dismantling electronic spy networks. More money into better training and probably better salaries to attract and keep better people.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Don’t take money from the cops. People who advocate for this seem to be the same people who want more training and more body cams. Ya need money for that.

If you want more mental health services, awesome. But youll probably end up having to raise taxes or take from other services because taking from the police wont provide enough funding for years and years of mental health services. You need to be able to pay to have multiple people available 24/7/365 and that requires more than people think. (If you want a team to respond to mental health calls along with police because nobody is responding to a suicidal person without armed cops there)

I have no issue with the equipment police have. They need that because criminals have that plus more. Not all criminals are walking around with just a handgun. You need to be able to have more than what they have in my opinion.

Plus, they don’t always buy that shit new. some get “hand me downs” from the military. Plus some people fundraise for police equipment, so it isnt all a part of their budget. Smaller departments in my area rely on some fundraising to get things. They dont just get the funding for it.

That leads me to another thing: we need police departments to be well staffed. Are we “defunding” only the large departments? What about part time departments? They would probably have to either get rid of the department or fire a lot of people… My department is part time. a lot of departments in my county are part time or only have 16 or so officers, we means about 2 per shift. (According to a police chief that came in and spoke in one of my classes). The police chief wants more funding so he can hire more people. I want well trained, well staffed departments that have everything they need to do their jobs. So they need money for that.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Also, dumb fuck Minneapolis is showing what it looks like. More crime. Huh. Who would have thought? Dumbasses

gondwanalon's avatar


blackbirdbrownbear's avatar

Police and related services would be transferred from the poorer at risk neighborhoods and moved to the more affluent neighborhoods to protect and serve just like it always happens when resources are reduced. Affluent parents actively value their children and want them protected. They start their children’s education and training early with the goal of creating productive law abiding citizens. They demand their neighborhoods are safe and well policed, their children protected from crime and the affects of crime. The reduction in funds only need happen in the communities that demand it. Those communities are the poor and criminally inclined. The affluent win again. The affluent will gladly welcome and utilize resources rejected by the poor. Their will not be a big political fight to limit police protection in affluent neighborhoods in a misguided attempt to protect criminals like in the at risk neighborhoods.

birsy's avatar

It would look great for the criminals , you better be well armed .

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Defund” is misleading. “Reallocating” is more accurate, and doesn’t leave people like @birsy. mindlessly arming themselves.

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