In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent riots taking place in cities all over the United States, those on the progressive left are calling for police departments everywhere to be defunded, disbanded, and dismantled.
However, not everyone on the left is agreement about such a move. And when the farthest left politician around says it’s too radical and too destabilizing, you know something is wrong.
Yep, that’s right. The self-proclaimed socialist and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has just put in his two cents about the conversation that seems to be taking this country by storm. And surprisingly, he is very much against defunding the police.
The former presidential candidate told the New Yorker recently, “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.”
Instead, he actually wants more pay for police officers, better training, and more involved support systems.
He continued, saying, “What you need are – I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called 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.”
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he is siding with President Trump on the subject.
And he does have a point.
Police officers, like teachers, have some of the most essential jobs in our entire society. And yet, for decades, they continue to be one of the lowest-paid, lowest respected, and lowest trained professions in America.
I mean, think about this. Police officers have an incredible responsibility to keep everyone safe and to keep laws from being broken. But this requires an inordinate amount of knowledge. They don’t just have to know about our laws; they have to know guns, they have to know combat, they have to understand mental illness, they have to know drugs, they have to know abuse, etc.
The list goes on and on.
During their training, they are only given weeks or sometimes days to learn an entire world of problems. And yet, when suddenly faced with a chaotic situation, a life-threatening one, or one they are simply unprepared for, we expect them to act above even our highest standards.
It’s no wonder so many of them fail. In fact, without the proper training, education, and pay, we are essentially setting them up to do so. And Sanders, for all his leftist ideals, realizes this.
However, one of the ways in which he suggests we help our police officers out is to reassign specific tasks elsewhere, tasks that might be better suited to someone in a different profession.
Sanders says, “I also called for the transformation of police departments into – understanding that many police departments and cops deal every day with issues of mental illness, deal with issues of addiction, and all kinds of issues which should be dealt with by mental-health professionals or others, and not just police officers.”
And the Vermont Senator isn’t the only one suggesting such ideas. City council members in Minneapolis have also proposed sending in social workers or other types of specially trained professionals to help in some instances.
The thought is that if some of these tasks, which may not require a gun, arrests, or other tasks generally thought of as police like, it will free officers up to be better and more specifically trained to deal with situations they alone must handle.
Sanders tells the New Yorker, “I think we want to redefine what police departments do, give them the support they need to make their jobs better defined. So I do believe that we need well-trained, well-educated, and well-paid professionals in police departments. Anyone who thinks that we should abolish all police departments in America, I don’t agree.”
On second thought, maybe his ideas on a more potent and more explicitly trained police force aren’t all that surprising. After all, one only has to look at the socialist nations of the world to note that one thing they all have in common is a resilient and ever-present police department willing to do the bidding of their leader. Stalin, Zedong, and Castro would be nothing without their police state to keep order and power.