AS I SEE IT
By Neal Shipman
Farmer Staff Editor
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was being arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill, by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, there has been a growing number of people who believe that the solution to curbing police brutality and racial inequalities is to defund the police departments.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? If you don’t like the way that the police departments across the country are operating or enforcing the law, you take away all of their funding and give it to some other group.
City leaders in Minneapolis are actually considering doing that. And several other cities are saying that instead of funding their police departments, they would rather use a sizeable chunk of those funds to fund other community projects or to enhance social services programs.
Granted, over the years the role of police departments across the country has changed. The good old days of Andy and Barney patrolling the streets of Mayberry are gone.
While pledging “to serve and to protect” police departments and police officers have seen their roles change as times have changed. Police departments not only have to be the visible law enforcement in their communities to help deter crime, but they are also asked to respond to a myriad of crimes ranging from thefts, homicides, shootings, lootings, rapes, kidnappings, robberies, terrorism, drug trafficking and the list just goes on and on. Whenever something new and vile presented itself in a community, the job of addressing those issues fell to the police departments.
Can Americans feel safe without a viable police department in their city? Absolutely not. And anyone who believes so probably isn’t really considering who is going to be providing the law enforcement that they will one day need.
When a criminal is beating down your door, threatening your family or brandishing a gun, who do you want to show up to protect you? Is it a police officer? Or is it a social worker?
Like it or not, in many urban cities, there are bad areas of the community where crime and violence is high. Can you imagine any business wanting to operate in those areas? Or for schools and churches or any community center to be operated where there is no police protection? Or if their only source of protection is the hiring of local gangs?
Americans need a strong and viable police force.
The answer to having bad police officers is to get rid of them. The answer to police brutality and racial injustice is to change the culture of the police officers.
The vast majority of this country’s police officers are outstanding men and women who put their lives on the line every day that they go to work.
Before the city leaders in Minneapolis and elsewhere around the country decide to throw the baby out with the bath water by defunding their police departments, they need to take the rhetoric down a notch and engage all of the citizens as to what this type of action means.