DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As protests for justice continue across the country, some activists and elected officials are calling to “defund” police departments to gain racial equality and end police brutality. According to experts, the meaning of the phrase depends on who you ask.
“When we see efforts like ‘defund the police’ we assume that it’s one size fits all,” said Dr. Arthur Jipson, an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Dayton.
He said some believe it means police reform or changing policies.
“Let’s change a few small things that police departments are doing. Let’s add diversity training. Let’s add inclusivity training,” he said.
While others believe it means removing the “warrior culture,” changing how we solve problems, how police see themselves, and how they see others.
“Instead of thinking in terms of how do I assist others? I immediately walk into a situation with the ‘warrior culture’ mindset of who do I have to deal with, and who do I have to stop to fix a problem” he explained.
And lastly, there is defunding police in terms of reallocating funds to issues like homelessness, education and mental health which have already been defunded in many states,
“Instead of having doctors or social workers or therapists or counselors, to help those people it falls to the police department, it falls to police officers. I can tell you officers in Ohio may have some training on those issues but them if I go to other states officers may have far less training,” Dr. Jipson said.
He said reallocating funds equips police so that they can flexibly rather than exclusively specialize in the use of force. “We reallocate resources towards those initiatives that are serious in our community where members of the community have been by some of these long-standing institutional and historical practices,” he said.