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Jeff Dorris

Deliberations from Dorris

Jeff Dorris is the Editor of the Delta Dunklin Democrat

Editorial

Defunding the police

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Defund the police.

It seems to be the new topic of discussion.

It also appears that this protest chant or slogan means different things depending on who you ask.

You hear everything from cutting funds for supplies to allocating funds for more diversity training to the outright elimination of a police force.

For those that desire a significant reduction in police spending, I believe that movement would be counterproductive on multiple levels.

In a 2019 poll commissioned by various stateís professional police associations the vast majority of the respondents (86 percent) indicated that they either strongly or moderately agreed that having a well-funded police department contributed to the quality of life in their communities. The results on that question have been consistently strong over the years.

Also when asked whether people wanted more officers in their neighborhoods, less officers, or whether they think the number of officers should remain the same, a majority wanted more officers in their neighborhoods, not less.

I donít think defunding is the answer.

Reform is the answer.

Let the justice system deal with bad cops and embrace the majority of those in law enforcement that dedicate their lives to protecting the community.

We canít just relinquish the role of police as some suggest.

Sending in counselors and conflict moderators to me seems not only futile but possibly deadly as well.

It would be similar to eliminating an emergency room in a hospital.

The police are our front lines, if you will, and like an emergency room, they triage. Many times they are tasked with containing the situation, applying a band-aid or tourniquet, until the justice system takes over with the proper solution, whether thatís treatment, fines, or incarceration.

I do not assume that the police are the best one size fits all cure to all that ails our society.

But we ask and expect a lot from our police.

They respond to overdoses, mental illness calls, domestic violence interventions, robberies, and they keep our roads moving safely.

I donít believe there is a simple yes or no answer to the question of defunding our police departments.

I have praised police officers, as well as have been aggravated with them, and at times I have been disappointed in them.

Better training standards and a zero tolerance for violence prone officers.

Absolutely.

However, I will continue to back the blue.

I canít imagine a community without them.

See you out there.

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