Since George Floyd’s death, voices have raised about the need to defund the police department in the United States. People have raised questions about police brutalities and corruptions. One twitter user even criticized the police department, writing on twitter: “Honestly, when did the cops become as bad as the criminals?” During the recent actions of dealing with the protesters, the police were spotted “without warning, whaling their batons, beating people from car tops, shoving them down to the ground, and firing pepper spray in their faces” according to Human Rights Watch.
As a result, across the US in many major cities, the police department has experienced different degrees of pressure. In New York, the New York City Council voted to cut nearly 17% of the police fund for 2020. In Seattle, the police departments are forced to reduce the size of their team because of the budget cut. Even worse, in Minneapolis, the police force was almost replaced by a community-based public safety program as a whole. Fortunately, the council did not pass this plan.
The police force started consisting of “volunteers,” those who attempted to evade military service. Stations called Night Watch were set up to punish those people. They are not paid, and a lot of the Watchmen sleep or drink during their watches. As time passes, the police become more and more important at targeting crimes, and nowadays, people feel it an honor to join the police force.
In modern society, the police are playing a very important role. According to the National Institute of Justice, the police department “is critical to identifying those who are planning to carry out acts of violence.” They “prepare communities to respond, aid public safety officials in the response, and help communities heal and recover” when violence could not be prevented. The police also serve as an important factor in educating the youth about the reasons for some police actions and different ways that they can protect themselves in a program called Youth and Police Initiative Plus (YPIP). This is extremely important because there will be more trust in the community, and react to the terrorism acts in a more effective way.
However, if we defund the police and as a result reduce the size of the police team in our community, less help will be available. This makes sense, and there are studies showing that with every ten percent increase in police force, the criminal rate decreases 5 percent in a city. This means a decrease in police force will increase the criminal rate because when violence occurs, there will be no one there to help and guide the community back on to the normal track. In this case, people’s lives will be badly impacted. There will be more inconvenience in the community. And when more inconveniences are present, people will feel agitated. This will probably trigger more violence because people will then be fighting to look for ways to keep themselves safe. Some of the ways they find, will probably be violent as well.
This leads us into a dead loop.
Even worse, if we decide to defund the police now when social unrest is everywhere, there will be no one there to respond to the violent protests on the street and our community will be ruined. If we decide to defund the police now when the nation is suffering from a deadly disease, there will be no one there to answer the call from a patient who needs emergent care.
Moreover, defunding the police and reducing the police size might result in an Anarchist society, in which a “popular militia” is built instead to ensure public safety instead of the police force, and “tribunals” are chosen at random in a community to perform the role of the justice system in today’s society. In an Anarchist society, investigations and evidence are not necessary to charge a person with a crime unlike in a Democratic society. The Anarchist society believes that complete freedom should be built among societies, and the communities should grow together. However, problems will occur. Just like Communism, where complete equality was thought to be ideal, is not possible to fulfil, the belief of complete freedom will not come to existence either. This type of belief will only lead to riot in the society because not everyone has the same definition of “equality” and “freedom,” and not everyone will have the same thought about a certain issue. When divergence occurs in the Anarchist society, people will have no way to reach a solution that satisfies everyone. On that, with the lack of law enforcement and governments to make the decision for the citizens and guide them on to a new path, violence will occur as a definite consequence. We need the police to help us build the Democratic society. We need them to help maintain a peaceful society.
We have enjoyed so many benefits from the police, but we may not even realize their hard work. There will probably be a small fraction of the police who are not doing their job correctly, but in my opinion, one should not blame the whole police department just because one police officer acted irrationally. Instead, we can find some ways to eliminate those problems that were created by some of the police. For example, we can give the police more training and teach them the more proper way of handling a criminal. We can test the police often to make sure that they are following proper guidelines and will not physically hurt the criminals. The police department could also review the policy' body cameras frequently, and make sure every police officer is doing their jobs properly. By reviewing the body cameras, the police department is also able to find any possible officers that might act irrationally, and call them back for further training and education.
However, all in all, we should not defund the police because they play such an important role in our society.