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Police Reform Ideas

" ..... and justice for all"

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Sandra Bland (1987 - 2015)

On June 7, 2020 the Minneapolis City Council voted 13-4 to defund and dismantle the city's police department following the killing of George Floyd. "We committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe," said Council President Lisa Bender. (CNN, June 8, 2020) The decision raised questions about what "defunding the police" actually means and has become a political hot topic. These are some options, and they are not mutually exclusive.

  • Abolish the police
  • Use money now dedicated to policing and punishment efforts to invest in communities and promote human potential 
  • Invest in social programs that reduce crime so less money is needed for policing
  • Redefine public safety. Public safety includes food insecurity, environmental harms, access to health care, access to mental health care and fighting crime. Such a redefinition might bring a shifting of resources.
  • Police currently are involved in many activities not related to fighting crime and for which they are often poorly trained. Remove these responsibilities and hire fewer police officers. 
  • Reallocate funds from police budgets to finance a new sector of 911 first responders. These responders would replace police in calls related to mental health, health, EMT services, fire services, and similar types of requests. These responders would be trained in de-escalation practices, implementing transformative/restorative justice, and other techniques appropriate to situations they might encounter.
  • Tie police funding to performance metrics
  • Reduce overpolicing, particularly in minority communities
  • Dismantle specialized police units that display a high propensity for violence against black and brown communities
  • Dismantle policing programs that appear as youth services. All city funds for youth services should be allocated directly to youth serving community organizations. 
  • Are heavily armed police the most effective and efficient means of achieving policing goals? If not, less money could be spent on arming the police.
  • Demilitarize police forces and restrict funding from state and federal governments that transfer excess military supplies and equipment to police
  • Stop paying for police misconduct (see Policy section for more on this)
  • Remove police who earn multiple serious misconduct allegations in order to reduce the likelihood of future investigations and lawsuits
  • Eliminate paid administrative leave for police officers facing misconduct charges.
  • Transfer funds from police budgets to support families that have suffered due to police shootings and excessive use of force