by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Leading police organizations aggressively denounced calls to defund the country’s 18,000 police departments and insisted doing so would lead to more crime and the closure of businesses.
“Defunding the police is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve heard in 44 years of law enforcement,” said Steve Casstevens, first vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the world’s largest professional organization of police leaders.
“For years, people have been saying police need more training on use of force, more training on de-escalation, more training on dealing with the LGBT community, more training dealing with mental health issues — all true comments,” Casstevens told the Washington Examiner. “If we need more training, how is that going to happen if we defund those budgets? We’re going to be in even worse scenarios.”
Nationwide, progressive leaders and activists are leading a charge to strip away money, employees, and power from law enforcement departments in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers.
The Los Angeles City Council introduced plans to cut $150 million from the city’s police department. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, called for the Minneapolis Police Department to close up shop. The San Francisco mayor announced an effort to divert police funding to local black communities.
Police organizations, unions, and officials told the Washington Examiner that this sharp backlash is not a viable solution and could lead to economic downturn in communities for small and large businesses, as well as for residents.
Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said calls to cut police budgets or dismantle entire departments are “dangerously misguided at best and a cynical attempt to create a power vacuum to be exploited at worst.”