Defunding the police creates new opportunities for society

Courtesy of Ira L. Black | Public cries for defunding the police continue to gain traction across America.

Alyse Kaminski | Staff Columnist

The year 2020 has definitely shaken a lot of outlooks I’ve had on America and its institutions — the police being one of them.

I have two police officers in my family, so I’ve always tried to see the best in this long-standing establishment.

After the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more, combined with the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, I have a very hard time believing we need a system of policing in this country, or any country, that is so blatantly and inherently racist.

Police departments need to be defunded.

I personally do not find this to be a radical idea, especially when the U.S. has been defunding education for years which is arguably more important to American wellbeing than the police.

I know for many defunding the police is completely out of the question. However, it really should not be. We would be better off as a society if money that is typically given to the police is reallocated to education and social programs that ultimately benefit the community.

Think of it this way — we are asking too much of the police. They’re doing jobs that could be given to other people who are specialized in specific fields such as mental health, domestic disputes and de-escalation.

The police, in some capacity, are still necessary. Abolition and defunding of the police are two completely different arguments.

What I am saying is that cops should only respond to specific types of calls that they are trained extensively to answer.

That brings me to another point about the allocation of funds for police departments. I cannot fathom why so much money is spent on militarizing the police when police officers are not adequately trained to handle such hardware.

In 2014, the Ohio Township Police Department received $733,000 for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs).

For what? I live in Ohio Township, and I can honestly say that my local police department getting their hands on such heavy machinery has not made me feel any safer. It seems to me as if the police department got some new toys to play with that year. I have never once seen one used.

How can one justify militarizing local police departments when Pennsylvania officers’ only undergo 20 weeks of training. It takes me longer to complete two semesters of my political science and journalism degree, and I won’t have people’s lives in my hands upon graduation.

Why do police departments allocate resources for guns and MRAPs instead of adequate training for its officers?

If redistribution was to occur, police departments would not be left with nothing. They would still have the funds necessary to complete their job, and their job would become easier if non-policing forms of public safety entered the conversation.

The inherent racism behind policing in the U.S. cannot go unaddressed. In particular, southern states began police departments in order to catch runaway slaves in the 1700s, eventually enforcing segregation once slavery was abolished.

Why would we want to fund a system that is rooted in the disenfranchisement of Black communities? Not only is it rooted in that, but police officers still arrest and kill more Black people today than white people. I personally want no part in that sort of system.

Police aren’t supposed to kill guilty people, and they seem to grasp that concept when a teenage white boy murders students and teachers in a school or murders protesters. Those kids walk away unscathed. But when George Floyd was suspected of a counterfeit bill or Tamir Rice was simply playing with a toy gun, they were murdered.

This is an inherently flawed system that does not deserve our tax dollars. I want my taxes to go towards improving our communities and repairing our damaged system in America by defunding the police.

This argument comes down to whether or not you’re paying attention to the news.

You, no matter what the color of your skin is, should be enraged that Kyle Rittenhouse killed two protesters, but Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back with his kids watching. The police need to be defunded.