Opinion

Opinion: Should we defund the police?

The “Defund the Police” movement is currently a huge ongoing debate due to racial discrimination in the American justice system. It is a result of nearly 400 years of killings of African Americans by white people, including police officers that have used too much force on them. The “Defund the Police” movement definitely has its…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/vincentwang2023/" target="_self">Vincent Wang</a>

Vincent Wang

November 4, 2021

The “Defund the Police” movement is currently a huge ongoing debate due to racial discrimination in the American justice system. It is a result of nearly 400 years of killings of African Americans by white people, including police officers that have used too much force on them.

The “Defund the Police” movement definitely has its good points in that police don’t need weapons everywhere they go, that more specialized individuals should be responding to some of the cases, and they should be trained with better tactics. However, entirely defunding the police is definitely not the way to go as that can cause more harm than good.

Defunding the police entirely is not the best way to go about solving our problems, since, obviously, no funds means no police, which means that there will be tons of crime and disorder everywhere if nobody is going to stop criminals. Of course, we need police to keep the peace in our communities. However, we can get rid of wasteful spending on the police force. 

The police get a lot of weapons, such as tactical military weapons, that are not appropriate for use in our communities, as Marketplace reports. Many police departments across the country get expensive military-grade weapons and armory through the 1033 program. 

Not every police officer needs a weapon, especially military-grade weapons, depending on what their duties are. Currently, when you call 911, even if it’s for a fire, police show up with a gun on their waist, which is entirely unnecessary for incidents like fires, car accidents, and medical responses. An officer with a baton to use in the worst case scenarios is definitely suitable for these types of incidents. Reducing the spending on unnecessarily expensive and dangerous firepower can help the community better use those funds for other improvements that can reduce crime, such as more social services. 

This will not only save the police department money on the weapons, it will also make the community feel safer in that they would feel more at ease talking to an officer without a gun than an officer with a gun that’s ready to fire at any moment. 

Police departments should consider creating a dedicated, non-armed police force to respond to the more minor cases like traffic stops, cases of forgery, and even drug use. None of those cases require weapons to solve, unless the perpetrator is armed. 

Cities should also invest more funds in mental health programs, mental health professionals to send to distress calls, and using unarmed community groups to monitor the streets. This idea seems feasible, since none of those types of calls really require an armed police officer to show up to help, and an armed response can even make the situation worse, especially when it comes to drug use. 

People that have problems regarding mental health or drugs should be dealt with by a professional who knows how to help, and not a police officer that was called to basically get them punished for their actions. Armed police should only be used in more major cases like shootings and robberies, but unarmed professionals should respond to the more minor cases that are more civil than criminal.

As a counterargument, one can say that giving the police less funding and not allowing them to carry weapons at all times can pose a danger to the community since they never know what’s going to happen. However, depending on the call and crime, they can determine if weapons will be needed and if they need them, then they can send in a separate force. 

Having a person with a gun right in front of you is not the most comforting sight and can actually make the person feel scared and freak out more than if the officer was arresting them without a gun. Police usually dramatically escalate the scenario when they start threatening the perpetrator with a gun pointed at them, when they could have dealt with it more patiently with words. 

Armed police aren’t needed for every call they respond to, and completely defunding the police is not the best solution when it comes to this, although their budget can be lowered since they don’t really need expensive military-grade weapons. The government should look into funding more mental health programs and programs that help people that are addicted to drugs quit. Officers should also be trained with less harmful tactics when arresting/detaining people. 

Overall, police should be retrained to have better tactics, funding should be diverted to programs that benefit people, and weapons should not be carried to every call that the police respond to. Police play an important role in our society and should not be completely wiped out, but better organization, tactics, and training is needed.

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