This is an opinion piece.
“Defund the police.”
It’s what’s been touted as a great idea over the last week in some parts of the country, but honestly, it might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
I shouldn’t have to explain why the notion was brought to light, but for those living under a rock, I will. It simply stems from the recent protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Yes, I can agree that police brutality appears to be an issue in some parts of our nation, but the issue will never be resolved by cutting funds or disbanding departments altogether.
In reality, that would only create more problems. When someone is breaking into your home threatening to hurt your family, who are you to call if the police have been disbanded? What if no one can come to your home because the department staff has been cut in half and helping you just can’t be afforded?
Instead of all this talk of defunding, maybe we should talk about what we can do to make things better. Let’s try making more resources available to guarantee police officers are getting the best training and equipment available. Let’s have officers complete more psychological evaluations on a regular basis, not just when particular incidents occur. And for crying out loud, weed out the bad apples of the bunch. Doing these things would not only better protect every citizen but also better protect officers, too.
And yes, officers’ lives are, too, in danger.
In May, the FBI stated 89 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2019. Of these, 48 officers died “as a result of felonious acts,” and 41 officers died in accidents.
Of the 48 killed “as a result of felonious acts,” 44 were killed with a firearm; four were killed with a vehicle.
Fifteen of those deaths were a result of investigative or law enforcement activities; nine were involved in tactical situations and four were responding to crimes in progress. Five were involved in unprovoked attacks
According to the FBI, 45 of the deceased officers were male, three were female; 40 were white, seven were African American and one was Asian.
Believe it or not, our nation’s law enforcement officers— those who work daily to uphold the law and serve and protect our communities at all cost — are under attack.
We shouldn’t be petitioning to take away police departments’ resources because of a few officers’ heinous acts. We should be supportive and work with them to make things better, because that’s the only way the problems can be fixed.
Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.