The idea of disbanding local police forces falls on the more radical end of the solutions being floated around right now in the wake up the Black Lives Matter movement. However, the idea is gaining traction amid a wave of police violence towards protesters.
While most would think it’s impossible, last Sunday, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced they intend to defund and dismantle the city’s police department following the killing of George Floyd.
“We’re committed to dismantling policing as we know it in the city of Minneapolis and to rebuild with our community a new model of public safety that actually keeps our community safe… (We need) to listen, especially to our black leaders, to our communities of colour, for whom policing is not working and to really let the solutions lie in our community,” Council President Lisa Bender told CNN.
She also urged that this initiative will shift police funding toward community-based strategies and that the city council would discuss how to replace the current police department.
It may come as a shock to some, but there have already been cities that attempted deeper reforms such as Camden in New Jersey. Camden was once considered one of the most dangerous towns in America – plagued by sky-high murder rates and a myriad of open-air drug markets.
According to CBC, Camden made a shift to community-based policing in 2013, dissolving the local police department and using police from the local county instead. The result has been stark as complaints about the excessive police force in Camden have dropped 95% since 2014.
Officers were retrained, their job conditions were revised and a bigger county-level force was relaunched, not only with more officers but also with a renewed focus: community service.
Daily non-crisis interactions between police and the community went up, training on de-escalating situations was rolled out, and firm rules on using force as a very last resort were installed. Officers are also required to intervene if a colleague breaks these edicts.
They were told to patrol on foot, mingle with residents and build a reservoir of trust to draw upon in a crisis. Residents of Camden deemed it successful as murders are down by two-thirds since the year before the police reform, and overall violent crime is down by nearly half.
Sounds like a dream tbh! You can learn more by watching this:
For more news, click here.