The slogan, “defund the police,” has gained widespread popularity during protests demanding justice for George Floyd, with organizations, representatives, and individual activists using the phrase to call for structural change through budget reductions within police departments. However, despite the widespread usage of the term, many still are unaware of what it truly means, often interpreting the phrase as complete abolition of the police. Whether or not you agree with the slogan, it is still important to understand what proponents of the phrase are advocating for.
Let’s look towards what the slogan really means: the core mission is exactly how it sounds, defunding the police. Yet, there is more that goes into it then just completely taking away the budget of police departments. The slogan supports diverting funds from police departments, reallocating them to different forms of public safety that do not take the form of policing. This looks like social services, housing, education, healthcare, youth services, and other resources to support communities. Those who support the action argue that investing in community programs takes a proactive step, rather than employing reactive measures, like police patrol. Proactive deterrents, such as addressing poverty, homelessness, and education with the reallocated funds, are viewed as a measure that can be more effective than the current method of policing. However, the phrase doesn’t mean the exact same thing every time it is used. Proponents of the phrase do not all envision the same reallocation of these funds: some activists use the phrase while imagining modest reductions, while others advocate for larger steps.
Without understanding both sides of the issue, we aren’t able to truly form an unbiased
opinion. Looking towards what a slogan or sentence really means and stands for, rather than jumping to conclusions, is something that we desperately need to ensure that viewpoints and individuals aren’t automatically vilified. We need to look deeper, not simply accepting things on face level, to truly understand and solve the issues in our status quo.
Written by Ashley, District 13