What does it mean to defund the Police Department
Defunding the police has been a battle cry for the protests after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a former MPD officer, that was recorded and streamed for billions of people in the United States and the world to witness in horror. It brought back into the light police brutality and the lack of police accountability when it comes to the disproportionate deaths of unarmed Black people. The Black Lives Matter Movement has once again stirred conversations across America about re-imagining Public Safety and the need for Police Departments.
Research has shown that crime in the United States has been on the decline even though the nations population has grown and the number of Police Officers have relatively stayed the same or even has dropped since the 90s. The question is do we still need a Police Department, especially if the current culture is steeped in racism and white supremacy? The answer is always, no.
In Rochester the numbers reveal:
* Violent crimes in Rochester are 49% lower than the national average
* Rochester is safer than 47% of the cities in the United States
* In Rochester crime in Rochester has decreased by 5%
* There are 142 full-time sworn personnel and 66 non-sworn personnel in the Rochester Police Department serving 110,000 residents
What makes Rochester safer than most cities our size?
Community engagement and public trust. Being good neighbors.
I've always believed that we need more social workers and not more law enforcement. Defunding or abolishing the police seems controversial, however we've been defunding education and social programs for years and that never seems to be an issue to taxpayers or politicians, even though education and social programs address the root causes of crime and criminality. the idea of defunding is not just cutting Police Departments budgets, but the demilitarization of law enforcement and moving funding towards more community focused policing. I also want to move away from the idea of community members being policed and talk about public engagement and community outreach to ensure safety and public trust.
It is difficult to continue to support an agency that has been steeped in white supremacy and lack of police accountability. It is high time that we need to re-imagine what policing in the United States and Rochester should look like.
Source: FBI Criminal Justice Information Service, Sept. 2019 & Rochestermn.gov