Defund The Police: What?

Following the George Floyd tragedy in Minneapolis last year, the cry went up in mostly Democrat-run cities to remove funding from the police budgets and transfer it to community services and to, in some cases, the creation of unarmed social worker civil response teams.  So, some budgets for police departments were cut, police officers were released, retired or simply left, and violent crime escalated. Fewer officers to respond and increased criminals deciding to take more advantage of those communities with lessened defense.  Gosh, who could have ever predicted all of that!

In Chicago, the last May weekend before Memorial Day, 47 persons were shot, with 9 of them killed.  Then, over that extended holiday weekend, there were ‘only’ 27 shootings there, with three of those victims killed.  Then, the very next weekend, with criminals rested and refreshed(!), the numbers climbed back up again with 55 shootings in Chicago, resulting in five deaths.  In Prince Georges County, Maryland, a predominantly black community outside D.C., as of June 1st, there have been 56 killings vs. 30 at the same time last year.  In Columbus, Ohio, 80 homicides have been reported, double the number from the same period last year.

Moving west, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva indicated that homicides there have increased 95% over the same period in 2020.  He has been a vocal critic of Democrat efforts to defund local law enforcement, noting that his department’ alone, has had to cut 1,310 positions since this wrong-headed, ultra-left effort hit the fan last year, facing a budget cut of $145-million, with almost a similar cut-back amount still said to be ahead.  His solution, of necessity, to help protect the citizens his reduced force can no longer do as well: Issue more concealed carry permits!  He decided to make that move to help citizens better protect themselves, due to now “less cops, more crooks, less consequences.”

And in riot-ravaged Portland, Oregon, the 30th murder of the year there happened on May 12th, a number five-times higher than the same 4½-month period in 2020, including almost 350 total shootings, twice the number of the same period last year. Portland Police Department officer numbers have shrunk from 1,001 to “about 900,” with the shortage blamed on the lack of support and funding. This is the city where the Democrat mayor reportedly actually implored his citizens to “take back the city,” ridiculously passing the job of imposing community safety on to the public, rather than doing whatever was necessary to end the destructive chaos himself.  Solving a serious problem, like saving lives, is not something Democrat mayors care to do, as we’ve witnessed in far too many major cities last year (and continuing there, plus now, once again, in Minneapolis).

Crime has gotten so bad in Buckhead, the upscale district of Atlanta, Georgia, that residents there are pushing to get a resolution on the ballot to leave the city and form their own municipality, one with its own proper police protection!  Said a Buckhead spokesperson: “The mayor and the city council have been making bad decisions, so at what point does anyone with a brain say ‘Enough?”  If crime is out of control, and you are doing nothing about it, you are finished as a city.”  By the way, homicides in Atlanta are now up 59% over the same period last year, and last year marked the highest number of murders there since 1990.

In his recent New York Post article, “America’s Public Enemy #1 – Crime,” columnist Michael Goodwin wrote: “The nearly 20,000 gun-related homicides (across America) last year were the most in decades, and one researcher found that 51 of the 57 largest cities saw increases. From sea to shining sea, America is witnessing the breakdown of public order and safety.  They (big city Democrat mayors) knew what had to be done a year ago and refused to do it.  They made excuses for the random violence and looting, refused even to call it what it was and now are shocked, shocked to discover that absolutely everything is spinning out of control.  The left’s attacks on law enforcement after the Floyd killing, and the decision by most of the political class to run for cover, spawned an era of anything goes.”

According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, 128 police officers have been shot (26 killed) this year to-date, and, even more destressing, the number of ‘ambush’ attacks is going up.  National FOP President Patrick Yoes: “I think that the present climate that we see throughout the country right now and the dehumanization of (the police) is certainly, I think, having some impact on the aggression towards law enforcement. There’s definitely a lack of respect.”

In a recent Rasmussen Reports survey (taken May 25-26 among 900 U.S. likely voters), 65% felt that violent crime in America is getting worse, so the public at large is well aware of the deteriorating situation.  The 65% broke down as follows: 72% Republicans say its getting worse, along with 65% Independents, and 59% Democrats, showing unusual agreement on the seriousness of this issue across the political board.  And in terms of solutions, this next finding is perhaps equally unsettling.  Among voters who indicated they felt that violent crime is getting worse, 62% are “not confident in Biden’s ability to deal with America’s violent crime problem.” Not encouraging.  Remarked Fox News host, Tucker Carlson: “So you have to ask yourself, because your life may depend on it, why is this country different from say, Sweden or Russia or Mexico?  And you know the answer.  It’s not COVID. It’s that in our country, stupid, malicious people took full control, the Democratic Party took full control of our country, and their policies resulted in a huge number of killings.” And that includes politically-patronizing Democratic mayors in many big cities who chose to look the other way, while rioting anarchists burned, looted, injured and even killed, shamefully, without either effective administrative control or punishment.

Yet, in spite all of all the worrisome increases in the shooting of members of the public, and of police officers, the new mayor of St. Louis, Missouri has boldly, and foolishly, decided to swim against the obvious violent crime current.  She is going ahead with police defunding! Wrote Matthew Vadum, in a article: “The newly arrived radical leftist mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, the city with the worst murder rate in America, is committed to leaving her constituents at the mercy of violent criminals by defunding the local police department and shutting down one of the city’s two jails.” Vadum continued: “Mayor Tishaura Jones, a woke black Democrat, was sworn in in April, after narrowly defeating Cara Spencer, a similarly woke leftist white woman.”

The mayor intends to cut $4-million from the local police budget, eliminate almost 100 vacant police positions, and end funding for one of the city’s jails. You have to wonder what will happen to the current inmates of that facility.  Possibly simply set free, or placed in some invented form of ‘confinement,’ in line with her apparent wokeiness?  Said the mayor: “The revised budget will start St. Louis on a new path to tackling some of the root causes of crime.”  Well, there you have it.  You’ve recently heard the term ‘root causes’ in another context.  It’s the same delaying, do-nothing, answer to the illegal immigrant catastrophe occurring daily at our southern border, with absolutely zero being done to stem the migrant flow into our country (and into our federal treasury), as we search hither and yon for those darn, elusive ‘root causes’! Author Vadum concluded his article with: “As crime begins to spiral out of control in communities they (Democrats) have caused to be under-policed, the Left will come up with excuses: the police budget wasn’t cut enough; not enough money was blown on welfare; Republicans sabotaged the policies; or maybe toxic masculinity or ‘whiteness’ somehow poisoned the atmosphere. Leftists will go anything to escape the blame for the destruction they cause.”

In Ashville, North Carolina, the police department there has made it known that they will no longer be able to respond to theft or other “low-level crimes” (e.g., fraud & trespassing), due to lack of manpower.  The department has just 70% of its 238 sworn officer positions filled, hampered also by currently having only 50% of their allotted detective slots occupied. “Protests against law enforcement” was cited as one of the key reasons why officers have left the department, certainly a major factor for other departments as well.

More than a dozen officers have left the Salt Lake City P.D. recently, leaving the department currently down 77 officers, with difficulty in re-staffing in general, but also due to the delay in receiving those applicants currently going through the training academy (a 10.5-month program).  Fewer officers means slower response times, and in their case, apparently so, with some even more serious crimes.

In San Francisco, with the changing law enforcement environment, some officers are leaving either for other departments in different parts of the country or leaving the profession altogether.  Said S.F. Police Officers Association Sergeant Rich Cibotti: “We’re losing a lot of people with a several officers deciding to leave law enforcement. I think we all took this job because we believe we had a calling and that’s why we chose to do this.  We knew what the risks were.  Now that the job is kind of changing and we’re not really in this calling thing and we’re getting into as different job, it’s causing a lot of people to decide not to do it anymore or simply to leave (for other departments).  Unless we stop that from happening, we’re really going to have a problem going forward.”

And that’s the key point.  When do we hit the recruiting wall where young men and women no longer chose to go into law enforcement because of the negative anti-police environment, lack of respect, salary vs. increased risk, etc.?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is imposing, by a number of state legislative acts, at least one possible set of solutions to the police officer drain: Penalizing municipalities in his state (with populations over 250,000) that defund law enforcement. Those cities that chose to defund will lose their property tax revenue, with those funds going, instead, to the Texas Department of Public safety to pay for “state resources used to protect residents.” Said the Governor: “The men and women of law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to keep Texans safe, and they deserve our enduring support and gratitude.  Efforts to defund the police are downright dangerous, and these new laws will prevent cities from making this reckless decision.” The legislators gave the governor a comprehensive group of laws to sign, including one bill that requires Texas’ largest cities (over 1-million population) to get the approval of the voters in an upcoming election before law enforcement budgets could be reduced.  And members of the public will henceforth face state jail time “if they knowingly block emergency vehicles or access to health care facilities.”

Said Governor Abbott: “With these laws, we are bolstering our support for law enforcement, while ensuring a safer future for all Texans. I applaud the Texas legislature for joining with me in passing these priority items and for making sure that Texas remains a law-and-order state.”  The impetus for these new laws apparently came from a situation with the Austin, TX police department, whose budget was cut by 33% last August, at the height of anti-police protests.  In one instance, department officers took 16-minutes to respond to a shooting victim, due to the reduced resources that resulted from that huge budget cut.  The Texas legislature and the governor took rapid and prudent steps to correct this unacceptable, budget-cut response issue.

What Texas has done legislatively might well serve as an effective template for other states with Republican control of the legislature and state house, who seek solutions to diminished response times caused by reduced police budgets, brought on by the “defunding” movement.  Important to note that several big cities, who spoke early on about defunding, have since reversed course by stopping the defunding, and, in some cases, even increasing police budgets, due to the unacceptable increases in both ‘low-level’ and violent crime within their cities.

Partisan media drum-pounding has of course only added to the trauma and citizen confusion.  “In 2020, nearly four children and teens were shot and killed each day in America on average. Yet the national press ignores any victim who isn’t killed by the police, distorting our understanding of what is really going on,” wrote Robert L. Woodson, Sr., founder of the Woodson Center.  And in a stark lesson in police defunding, in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, when the city council there politically knee-jerk-shifted $8-million from their police budget to social programs, resulting, of course, in reduced response and protection, murders in the city rose 46% over the same period the previous year.  Contrary to budget cuts, in a national Gallup Poll conducted recently, 81% of black respondents made it clear that they wanted more, not less, police presence in their communities.  It is the minority neighborhoods that have suffered the most from those foolish, short-sighted police budget reductions that have not yet been sufficiently public-pressured for reversal.  Leftist politics have too often aggravated, rather than solved, the violent crime problems historically present, particularly within lower-income and minority communities.

When asked about the role of police officers, former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton responded: “They are an essential element of a successful democracy.  They are the glue that literally holds society together.”  Our law enforcement officers are the mandatory difference between a civil, law-abiding society and a corrupt, dictatorial, chaotic, lawless one.  So, we’d darn sure better do all in our power to hang on ever-so-tightly to that most-essential, blue ‘glue’!!


(Chicago shootings stats via, David Aaro, 5-24-21 and Stephanie Pagones, 6-1-21, and, Awr Hawkins, 6-7-21; Homicides in Prince Georges County, MD and Columbus, Ohio stats via, Paul Mirengoff, 6-1-21; Sheriff Villanueva stats & quote via, Joel B. Pollak, 6-3-21;  Portland, OR stats & quote via, John Nolte, 6-1-21; Buckhead & Atlanta stats & quote via, Paul Mirengoff, 6-3-21; Public enemy #1 stats & quote via, Michael Goodwin, 5-25-21; Police officers shot this year to-date stats & quote via, Marisa Schultz, 6-6-21; Rasmussen Reports survey results/Carlson quote via, Hannah Bleau, 5-29-21; St. Louis defunds the police stats and quotes via, Matthew Vadum, 5-29-21; Ashville, NC situation stats & quote via, Awr Hwakins, 6-6-21; Salt Lake City stats via, Lucas Manfredi, 6-2-21; San Francisco officers leaving stats & quote via, Talia Kaplan, 6-2-21; Governor Abbott new anti-defunding laws stats & quotes via, Caitlin McFall, 6-2-21; Woodson quote & stats via The Wall Street Journal, Robert L. Woodson, Sr., 6-10-21; Bratton quote via The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan, 5-29-21).