Defunding vs. Reforming Police




Defunding vs. Reforming Police

The police play a vital role in any society. Their role is to ensure law and order, protecting innocent people and arresting those found to break the law. Over the past few months, the country has seen multiple protests regarding excessive use of force by the police. Examples of cases that sparked demonstrations include the case of George Floyd who died in police custody, as well as Breonna Taylor who was shot to death in her apartment. There have been other reported cases of police brutality, but these two received the most media attention this year. With the outrage sparked by these cases, some suggested ideas to deal with police brutality include defunding and reforming the police. Given the critical role that the police play, it would be unwise to defund police departments as it would likely lead to an increase in crime and little resources to handle. The best way to address challenges in the police force is to introduce reforms such as the use of body cameras, bias training, among other measures.

There is an important difference between defunding the police and reforms. Defunding means reducing the financial resources allocated to various police departments across the country. Reforming the police, on the other hand, means introducing policies that would address some of the issues surrounding the police, such as excessive use of force and racial bias. Defunding would cause a crisis in the police force as it would reduce the money that departments need to fund activities and purchasing equipment like vehicles and cameras. Such a situation would reduce morale among officers and leave them ill-equipped to handle cases.

Reforms in the police force are nothing new. The Department of Justice has intervened in multiple departments across the country after complaints about police conduct. Some of the complaints from civil rights groups include shootings of unarmed civilians, K-9 bites, racial profiling, and beatings, among others. Justice can intervene in such cases and institute reforms. After investigations into 26 police departments, the Justice Department concluded that 16 of them showed the use of deadly or excessive force (Kimbriell et al. 1). However, the results of such reforms are not yet well documented. Kelly, Childress and Rich explore the issue of police reform in the article titled, ‘What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?’ The authors highlight some of the police departments that have been the target of police reform, explaining the reforms implemented, the costs involved and the length of time it took.

One of the most effective reforms in the police force is the use of body cameras. The cameras, coupled with dashboard cameras in police cars, capture events as they happen to give an accurate account of what happens in the field (Worden 12). Another reform introduced in police departments in bias training where officers are taught to recognize implicit bias and what to do in such situations. Other reforms include meetings with communities which the police work with to find out how the two parties can work better together. From the article and evidence available, defunding the police would be wrong. It is better to institute reforms that will lead to better outcomes and public trust in the force entrusted with the task of protecting and serving the country

Works Cited

Kimbriell, Kelly et al. “What Happens When Police Are Forced To Reform?” PBS. 13 November 2015. Retrieved from, Robert E., and Sarah J. McLean. Mirage of police reform. University of California Press, 2017.