To Understand Police Reform, Rosa Brooks Volunteered To Join The Force

February 16, 2021 ☼ police

Source: NPR - Link

On the wording of the slogan “defund the police”

I think the wording is unfortunate, but I think that the underlying call to rethink how we allocate resources is absolutely right. And I think the wording puts people off. … I think the reason for that is that people recognize that although police abuses are real and the systemic racism in the system is real, that crime is also real and not that many people want to say, “I’m cool with no cops.” The even worse slogan is “abolish the police.” So I think the rhetoric has not been super helpful. But I think that if you get beyond the the word, it’s actually something where there’s an enormous amount of common ground between police and critics of policing, because the the impetus really, I think, is to say, ‘Why do we have so much money for enforcement and not not very much money for social services? Why do we have so much money for enforcement and not enough money to focus on changing the structural injustices that lead to the racial disparities we see in policing?’

I think if you ask the average police officer … “Do you want to be the social workers, the mediators, the medics and so on?” They’ll be like, “No, no, no, I’m terrible at that. I don’t think we should be doing this. I really wish there were other people who could do this because I know we’re not doing it right and we shouldn’t be doing it at all.” That’s where there’s a lot of common ground. And indeed, if you say to them, “Do you want to be locking up all these poor people?,” most of them will say, “My God, no. Of course I don’t. But that’s what you told me to do.” And if you don’t want me to do that or you don’t want my colleagues to do that, then change the system so you’re not telling us to do that anymore.

This is a good interview based on experience. I think Biden has it right. The police need more money for recruiting, pay, training, and assistance from other agencies.