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Revisiting Defunding/Dismantling the Police

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In the first paragraph of the foundational document of our Constitutional Republic, the Founders emphasized justice, tranquility, general welfare and securing the Blessings of Liberty as priorities in the fledgling nation that they were shepherding into existence.

The preambles to many state constitutions including Washington echo these ideals.

Yet the Mayor of Seattle was willing to allow a group of anarchists to flout those fundamental principles by occupying a police precinct and six blocks of her city. Did Mayor Jenny Durkin recoil and honor her oath to protect the Constitution by reestablishing order and preserving the liberties of the permanent residents and businesses in what became an “autonomous zone?”  Absolutely not.  Rather, she recognized the CHAZ/CHOP as a peaceful protest and was just a “block party.” 

Unfortunately, as night follows the day, when the police moved out, the shootings and the sexual assaults began. In response, and under pressure from Seattle residents and businesses within the autonomous zone who have sued the city, Mayor Jenny has decided that a “Summer of Love” on Capitol Hill was not a good idea after all.

Unfortunately, the effort to reclaim the CHAZ/CHOP as a functioning part of the city was not well received by the “peaceful protesters” who claimed that turf for themselves.  According to Seattle Police Union head, Michael Solan, when city workers approached the boundaries of CHAZ/CHOP, “armed people flocked to the area” preventing the workers from doing their job. Solan told Neil Cavuto that “this is a small group that [is] holding the entire city of Seattle, the majority of its citizens hostage. And autonomous zones like CHOP impose the will of the few onto the majority. It’s actually democracy in reverse. And now, as we predicted last time, this has metastasized across the entire nation.”

Of course, the poster children for the movement to defund/dismantle the police is the Minneapolis City Council.  On Friday, the City Council unanimously adopted an amendment to the city’s charter which would disband the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a “department of community safety and violence prevention.”  For his part, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is not sold on the idea.

The proposed amendment also has to go before the voters in November for ultimate approval, if it makes it that far.  It will be interesting to see whether residents of Minneapolis fall in line or deliver a stinging rebuke to the council.  Ironically, reports have surfaced indicating that several of the city council members who support doing away with Minneapolis police have private security details, funded by the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, after receiving death threats.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is also not convinced of the wisdom of defunding/dismantling police. She would rather focus on reform, telling Politico that

“Defund the police” is a “nice hashtag,” but it ignores how reform works, will hurt efforts to diversify the force, and goes against what Chicago residents are telling her they want.

Mayor Lightfoot’s position makes sense given the fact that her city is a lightning rod for criticism focusing on the number of shootings and killings on Chicago streets week in and week out. She seems to understand that the solution to continued violence in her city does not and should not include more limits on the ability of police to enforce the law in a very difficult environment.

Bloomberg published an article on June 9 listing the cities who have acted to dismantle or defund police departments.  There may be more that are not included in that list which is now over two weeks old. This list should help you decide on your future travel plans.

The calls to defund/dismantle police agencies are primarily coming from the far left and disregard polling that indicates that although most Americans support police reform, just 27% of all Americans support defunding the police. 

This polling seems to reflect what most Americans instinctively know and believe. Laws are meaningless without a means or the authority to enforce them. Also, as we have seen play out in Seattle, where there is a vacuum created by the absence of law enforcement, others who are armed will move in to fill that vacuum with their own malevolent and tyrannical concept of law and law enforcement.

But there is good news as well.

I had the opportunity the other morning to talk to an officer in my local county police department.  I asked him how he was doing and how he felt about the morale in his department.  Although he stated that the current environment is challenging, he quickly pointed out that things are not as bad as is being reported in the popular media.  He also told me that he and his fellow officers know that most citizens support them and their work.  And in an atmosphere where law enforcement officers are leaving their positions in departments nationwide, he said that the encouragement that he hears every day from people in his community is what makes his and his fellow officers’ service worthwhile.

Perhaps leftists who are calling for defunding or dismantling police departments should get out of their bubbles (with or without their security details) and talk to some officers on the street, not to mention their constituents. They might find that defunding/dismantling the police is not such a good idea after all.

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