First though… what is “defunding” and what does it mean?
Ask yourself… how and why have we come to this place? Why are we here?
I believe it’s all about “good cop” v “bad cop”. But, how and why do we even have “bad” cops?
Simply put, we have “bad cops” just as we have “bad people” in most every type of group. A difference is, the “bad cops” are armed and protected by a police union.
So why do we have “bad cops”? I believe this may be broken down into two parts:
- Hiring and Training
- Police Unions
Police unions have created an atmosphere that protects and therefore encourages “bad” behavior. Improved hiring and training, and reigning in the police unions, would eliminate most of the “bad cops” in my opinion.
The training they go through now instills in the new officers a sense of belonging to a fraternity, and provides the basis of this “gang mentality”.
Why I am qualified to speak on this, I believe, is because I have been on both sides of policing: 1) our family was friends with many officers as I was growing up, and 2) I have belonged to a motorcycle club that resulted in my being harassed and threatened by police.
Officers I know, and others I have met from back then, are embarrassed by the actions of police today. They are incredulous at the militarization, the attitudes, the lack of training, and the type of person being hired.
Why would I have problems with the police? I’m a father, grandfather, business owner, no record, never charged with a crime.
Just as the color of your skin or your religion or how you dress or look can make one a magnet. I was an officer and a member of motorcycle clubs over an extended time. So that made me a target.
Being an officer in a motorcycle club is kind of like being a minority kid with a hoodie, in a gated community in Paradise Valley, after dark. When spotted by an officer you will be stopped, searched, questioned, threatened… all usually illegally.
With the police, it’s not about a person. It’s about groups that are unwanted within an area they control. Whether distinguished by religion, race or skin color, clothes or how you dress, what you look like… you are placed in a group.
If you fit their image of a specific group they don’t like, you will be stopped, you will be questioned, you will be harassed, and threatened. Period.
What we are seeing and reading about today is not just about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. They (BLM) are simply exposing a problem most everyone knows exists but no one wants to talk about it. BLM is not the problem. They are the messenger and the catalyst for hopefully fixing the problem.
The problem is it’s about the militarization of police departments combined with the failed hiring practices of police officers, hired because they will follow orders without question, and are trained to accept the mentality of being a part of their own gang (or as they call it, a fraternity).
Racism and discrimination are a result of the “us v. them” gang mentality, which is a major part of the indoctrination that police academies instill in new recruits.
Education: 3 of 4 police charged with Floyd’s murder had only HS and/or GED educations. One officer had been arrested several times prior to his being hired. Two worked as cooks at McDonalds.
Fact: Cosmetologists are required to have more training and education than police officers in most states. Does anyone see a problem with this?
Mental Health/Psychological: Speaks for itself and should be required. Some say it is. If so, they failed. Searching for people to hire, who will follow and not lead, and who will act without question, should not be a part of the equation.
Blue Line or the Blue Wall: From day one, cops are taught/trained they are a brotherhood, a fraternity… a gang for all intents and purposes. They are taught an “us v. them” mentality. They are taught that they and their fellow officers come first.
This explains now why there were 3 newly hired officers who were too scared to move against 1 bad cop, committing a murder right in front of them in Minnesota.
Police unions then protect the bad cops. The unions will pressure the mayor and city council members, who will pressure judges and prosecutors, and typically, the bad cops walk.
Reprimands, if any, are hidden from the public.
In the end, if we must change the hiring qualifications, change the training, and neuter the police union.
What is meant by defunding? The misconception is that it means getting rid of police departments. This is a scare tactic. Not so.
What is defunding? What defunding means is:
- to move funding from militarization to social and community-based efforts.
- use these funds for better training and vastly improved testing for hiring.
- require all officers to submit to mental and psychological testing prior to hire, and regularly thereafter.
The goal… put police back in uniforms, on foot patrol, on bicycles, on horseback. Teach them to work with and within the community, to learn about and to get to know the people they are there to serve and protect. Move back to local neighborhood and community policing.
Your local officer does NOT need to look like the photo above. Does having officers on the street looking like that instill trust, or fear, in your neighborhood, in your children?
Our nation, the people of this nation, need to fix things, quickly. The goal is, and should be, for defunding to save resources to be used to improve police departments (training, hiring, educating) not destroy them or get rid of them.
Defunding can be accomplished as a win-win for all. But everyone needs to be on the same page regarding the definition and goals of defunding.
Let me end with this personal note… an example of what society is really up against.
I worked for over three years fighting discrimination against bikers. We lobbied for a simple change in wording in the police training manual to require improved training in diversity and discrimination. That’s it.
And for three years the Police Union fought this. They had officers go door to door to lawmakers offices in the state capitol building and threaten to pull funding from each lawmaker’s re-election campaign if they supported our bill. That is illegal in this state.
But… THAT IS symbolic of what is wrong and what needs to change. The police departments are controlled and run by the unions. Nothing changes until that changes.