There is a lot of controversy about what “Defund the Police” means. To the point where I thought about taking down the last post. Because the way I wrote that, if I am being completely honest with myself, it was polarizing. It assumes all police officers and their departments are to blame for the current problems we are facing.
When we champion only one idea as a simple chant, we ignore the complexity of our humanity. We lash out at everyone when we wage what we think is a righteous war. And isn’t every cause we are each fighting righteous to us? The problem with any justified rage is the anger and hatred never goes away unless the people who are angry transform their pain and passionate feelings into actions and words of healing.
It is possible for anyone of us to say some rather one-sided things, no matter how justified we feel about it, to get carried away with what we believe we are justified in saying.
When everyone’s experiences and perspectives are not included, then there isn’t a conversation or an open dialogue taking place, and the anger remains. At least not the kind of dialogue that results in sharing solutions that work for everyone’s humanity. I am leaving it up because what I wrote is still valid. But because it is an incomplete thought that represents one side of my thoughts and beliefs, here is another reason to support those measures.
Reallocate Funds vs Defund the Police
Having served as a police officer I understand the dangers officers face. It’s alarming to see people say All Cops are Bastards and who cares who gets in the way-kill them all. It’s a blanket statement of polarizing rage that forces everyone to be seen as evil. It ignores those who stand for equality and justice at all times and places. Those people also wear a badge. That’s why they knew what happened to George Floyd was unnecessarily cruel. That’s why cops are pointing out the actions of other police departments as excessive. And like ‘Defund the Police’ all of these over simplified soundbites are misunderstood because too many people have their own interpretation of what that means.
Should funds be reallocated if a community spends more money on cool military gear and suddenly they don’t have money for community resources? Yes. People who are out of touch with the community that you represent, should be held accountable. Stop making people who represent you GUESS what is in your best interest. Talk to them. If they don’t listen vote them out. Stop voting people into local offices who are good at telling you what you want to hear. As a citizen of this country, action is required on both ends. L.A. was able to reallocate their funds once they realize how important it was tho their community. The thing is they had the power to do that all along.
Are all police departments misusing funds and ignoring the needs of their communities? No. Some police departments realized they can only do their job if they have the trust of their community. So maybe some police departments don’t need to have their funds reallocated. Maybe what is needed is more transparency and a clear channel to address problems in a timely manner. It is up to each community to find solutions that work for them. Which is why I like the rest of the country, will be interested in how the residents of Minneapolis will show up to dismantle their police force.
Read More: Former Chief Of Reformed Camden, N.J., Force: Police Need ‘Consent Of The People’
Rethinking our Roles in Society
Dissolving police immunity is a no-brainer when you look at it as a humanity issue. Police officers have been asked to be problem solvers without resources or support. Rethinking the role of police officers and how they show up in our communities as well as the members of community, from a safety point of view, isn’t radical. They have a heavy burden to “fix” everything we don’t want to talk about or don’t want to acknowledge. Dissolving police immunity holds us all to a higher standard and challenges us to rethink what we are asking police officers to do.
Police officers do need to be seen as human beings. As citizens in their communities. Rethinking the job they are being asked to do is vital to their own humanity. For example there are places in the world where cops are not traffic cops because point blank that interaction endangers their lives. Those countries have opted for traffic cameras, through public and private options, and fines. They have accepted their citizens are human beings first and they can’t criminalize or control everything each person does or how they treat each other. Maybe we should think about the way we criminalize misdemeanors, if for no other reason because it’s not an efficient use of officer’s time, city’s resources, or the tax payer’s dollar.
Rethinking the role of police officers in our society as a whole is not enough. When we talk about rebuilding trust or building a new social contract with each other, we have to first begin by imagining a society that means something to us. It will still take a collective effort from all of us. We Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t all have to look alike or sound alike to make things better for all of us. We don’t even have to like each other if we create a society base off our shared values. Change takes time because we make decisions everyday that either distance us or recenter us on our values. I promise you every person who thinks they are doing their part right, is going to get it wrong as often as they get it right. Part of the bumpy road we are on will include learning how to hold space for the people we don’t entirely agree with to the left and the right of us. You don’t have to hold that space for everyone, but we all need to find someone who we are willing to do that for.
We Need All of Us
Polarizing diatribe is a sickness in our country because the resulting insults forces people on both sides of the issue to fight each other, instead of finding solutions together. By over simplifying the issues and concerns we strip our ability to see each other and solve our problems as human beings.
I am all about rebranding and rethinking how police, and other societal roles, serve the community but it’s a conversation that needs to include all the facets and all of our voices.
A conversation where the goal is find solutions that ends all violence against each other.