The past two weeks of protests against the murder of George Floyd have ignited serious social debate about our policing system. Some deny issues with the police, some want reforms, and some want an outright abolition of the police. One might think that a world without police would be complete anarchy, but what would a world without police actually look like?
First, police abolition does not call for a free-for-all with crime going unchecked. It is actually a redistribution of funds and an investment in social programs. These programs can go after the root of the problem to address why the crime is happening and stop it instead of waiting for it to happen. Locking people in cells for periods of time and then releasing them does little to address why they participated in criminal activity in the first place.
Take, for example, looting and shoplifting. Instead of throwing the person in jail, why don’t we dig deeper into the situation? Are they shoplifting because of poverty? Let’s invest in job training and placement programs. Do they have a history of arrests? If so, prison has not been helpful in addressing this issue, and other options need to be explored.
With new ideas and solutions floating around, the government will have to do plenty of research and invest in new programs. Minneapolis has agreed to disband its police department, so this is no longer a hypothetical situation. Governments at every level will begin weighing their options and contracting research and additional social services to figure out what is possible. They already contract companies for community outreach and training programs, so the recent unrest could expand these needs.
At the very least local and federal police departments may bring in expanded training programs to help with de-escalation and intervention training. Just last year, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service signed a $15,500 contract with the Crisis Prevention Institute in Wisconsin. Also, when the Department of Homeland Security signs a contract with Metcor for nearly $1M, it makes one wonder if they’re being trained to use the least violent tactics.
About the Author
Grant Sarver is from Suwanee, Georgia. He is currently an undergraduate pursuing Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Sociology at the University of Georgia with an expected graduation in December 2020. He is most interested in human rights and social equality and plans to work for an entity that helps fulfill people’s human rights.