Ex-Dallas cop says calls to defund police would stop if officers stop 'constantly seeing the worst' in people
After George Floyd's death on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer was seen in a video kneeling on his neck for nearly eight minutes, massive protests against racial injustice and police brutality began all across the US, and which eventually led to calls for defunding the police. As we reported back in June, the idea behind calls for defunding the police was pretty straight and simple. Instead of funding a police department, a large portion of the city’s budget will be channelized for the betterment of communities, especially the marginalized ones where most of the policing is carried out. It is not the first time that the voice in favor of disbanding and defunding police has been doing the rounds. It became prominent since the shooting of Michael Brown by white policeman Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and the unrest that followed.
The campaign of defunding the police gained momentum after nine members of the Minneapolis City Council came up with a bold statement whereby they said that they will “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department” on June 7. “We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does. We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you,” the statement said.
Charles D Hayes, former Dallas police officer turned activist, whose book 'Blue Bias: An Ex-Cop Turned Philosopher Examines the Learning and Resolve Necessary to End Hidden Prejudice in Policing' focuses on bias in policing and the psychological/physiological causes and effects of police brutality and use of excessive force, told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) why defunding the police might not be the best way to curb police brutality in the nation and what other better alternatives are there to address the issue.
''Police departments very often need help dealing with people who are mentally ill, and all officers need extensive training in understanding the nature of bias and how our minds work as well as to the physical changes their experience may subject them to,'' he said. ''Officers also need a big picture perspective, to keep from becoming jaded and overly cynical from constantly seeing the worst from their fellow man. I believe if we could get most of the officers in the country to adopt the perspective and attitude, I advocate in Blue Bias, the calls for defunding the police would stop.''
Apart from President Donald Trump and an array of Republicans, a number of Democratic leaders have also stepped forward to stress on the fact that defunding police departments cannot be the solution to fixing the broken policing system in America.
On June 9, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stated that he does not support defunding or abolishing police departments amid growing calls to do so in the wake of Floyd's killing. The senator, during an interview with The New Yorker, said: "Do I think we should not have police departments in America? No, I don’t. There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments." The progressive independent lawmaker, instead, emphasized that he is calling “for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals. And, too often around this country right now, you have police officers who take the job at very low payment, don’t have much education, don’t have much training—and I want to change that."
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden also echoed in the same sentiment a while back. On June 10, speaking to 'The Daily Show' host Trevor Noah, the former vice president spoke about whether it was justified that people were pushing for police departments in the cities to be defunded as they continued to protest police brutality in black communities. “I don’t think all cops are bad cops,” Biden said at one point, adding that he did not agree with the growing calls for defunding. “But look, 90% of all the funding for police comes from local taxpayers. So the federal government, under our system, cannot — other than taking a civil rights action — say they need to do A, B, C, and D. But what we can do is we can make sure we insist on certain fundamental changes take place now.”