ALL NEWS

Opinion: We must fund before we even think of defunding the police

Jul 30, 2021, 2:32 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:09 pm
salt lake city police south temple gas scare...
Salt Lake City Police Department arrested 44-year-old Anthony Jack for his alleged involvement in several crimes, including multiple burglaries. FILE: KSL TV

This is an editorial piece. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with the KSL newsroom.

This week we saw multiple stories from around the country about crime rates growing while police forces are shrinking. In Seattle, police are resorting to juggling schedules to try and meet community demand. In Salt Lake, you can report theft or minor crime yourself online if there is no immediate danger, thereby freeing up 9-1-1 for more pressing emergencies. 

It is my opinion that criminal justice reform is well-intentioned. I often read about the need to redesign or reimagine policing, to take some police functions away from law enforcement and give them to social services, functions like dealing with the mentally ill, those experiencing homelessness or people addicted to substances. It is here that we need to understand history, or we will most certainly repeat it. 

You may recall how mental institutions closed all over the country in the 1970s. States were unwilling or unable to pay for the care of our mentally ill, so they turned them out onto the streets. Who wound up dealing with them? The police.

What about the homeless? Does the state sufficiently fund those who are homeless? Not for most of the last 50 years. So who has to say “move it along?” The police.

And what about those with substance disorders? Are they all in treatment programs, cared for by hospitals, in good housing until they’re sober? Of course not. They’re on the street where the police are left to deal with them.

As former New York, Los Angeles and Boston Police Chief Bill Bratton explains in his book The Profession: “Police departments around the country would be pleased to pass along many of these responsibilities and focus on more traditional policing concerns, but they cannot do that until some other fully capable entity is prepared to step into the breach.”

Therefore, we must fund before we even think about defunding police departments. If we start cutting police department budgets before we fund social services in a big way, we’ll have exactly what we’re having now–rising crime rates and slower response times, larger homeless populations and addicts on the streets.

This is not the quality of life we want in America. We can do better. Chief Bratton says, “the only one standing at the bottom of all society’s safety nets, when people fall through the holes because they are frayed and worn down or purposely ripped open, is the cop. And the country got very comfortable with that.”

Well, we’re uncomfortable now. Let’s make the most of our discomfort. Let it motivate us to do the right thing, fund the right thing, support the right things, including our cherished police officers. 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

SLCPD cruiser...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD officer witnesses wrong-way drunk driver crash into embankment

At around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, an SLCPD officer witnessed a 2009 black Ford F-150 traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane. 
14 hours ago
This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
14 hours ago
In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Cosmic seaplanes and self-growing bricks could help us explore other worlds

In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently than ever before.
2 days ago
The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
2 days ago
Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being...
Waverly Golden

AirMed responds to tubing accident in Peter Sinks, Logan

Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being struck by a snowmobile.
2 days ago
A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Opinion: We must fund before we even think of defunding the police