Defund Police?

Policing is still mired in the challenges of today while carrying the baggage of the past.

Dr. William Tafoya

Modern policing emerged reactive during the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s. The 1960s alerted us to the need for more proactive oversight but has been sporadic at best.

Identifying offenders and documenting disorderly and criminal acts has become part of an officer’s reason for being. It quickly became the rationale for the irrational. The analytical and proactive skill sets taught to various degrees take a backseat. Scores of police supervisors still have that reactive response of an officer learned from their front line patroling as rookies: the ranking officer neglects the higher reasoning powers of long-term problem-solving or strategic thinking. Nothing changes.

Any manager needs to do an inventory of past problems. How could the issues create liability and other conflicts in the precinct? Narrow-minded and unimaginative thinking limits goals only to the next budget cycle. Purposeful substantive change is what “defund the police” really means.

Policing needs to be substantive in its visionary goals, instead of being adaptive after the fact.

The ideal purposeful change ensures that policies, protocols, resources, and personnel are in place when they are required.

Taylor & Francis Group, LLC., 2012. The Future of Policing: A Practical Guide for Police Managers and Leaders.

Both the police and public lament that there are insufficient resources for crisis issues. It is not how officers self-identify their jobs. They don’t say, “Oh good, we get to go on a domestic call.” Those they fear the most with its uncertainty. If housing and other crisis needs were met with funding reallocated by police, perhaps officers would care more to heed their intelligence analysts’ recommendations. Considering there is historical baggage with officers dealing with black-skinned peoples and other marginalized groups, it is a good idea to guide their focus on intelligence-led policing.

Police management, leadership, and administration need a new pair of glasses: view the future in terms of possible, probable, preferable plans and make it happen.

Strategic guidance and direction are tools to solve complex problems with a cohesive strategy before coordinating efforts in unity can hold a sliver of success in this transformational endeavour.

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