By Editorial Board
Defunding the police has been a focal point of discussion in recent weeks, following the deaths of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and other African-American individuals who were killed by police officers.
Many are saying this is the result of systemic race issues embedded within the nation and police. Others are saying police brutality is a problem across all spectrums and needs to be completely reexamined.
The solution being presented by some is the eradication of all police forces in favor of other options, such as community-based organizations that will lay out alternate plans for handling and reducing the number of crimes. This has left law enforcement with questions as to where we’re headed as a country and where they stand as far as their positions are concerned.
President Trump signed a police reform bill on June 16 that will ban chokeholds and create a database for troublesome officers. But many are saying this is not enough and are continuing to push for a complete overhaul of police.
There are many facets to the issue. While some places might benefit more from one method, another town could get completely out of control on the other hand. Which is why we have to look at this on a community by community basis.
In places like our own backyard of McKees Rocks and Stowe crime is an issue for various reasons. Would we really benefit from eradicating police departments that are already overworked and understaffed? Or should we push harder to revamp the departments, hire more officers and make the screening process more strict?
In all of this mess, mental health has been considered as a topic we should focus on and for good reason. If we could come up with a system to better screen existing law enforcers for mental illness, then that could potentially help the problem. Scenario-driven training can be a highly useful tool as well.
We should always stay open to other options. It’s somewhat true that the current model of policing isn’t always going to work, even with the new reform. It’s also not unreasonable to put more measures in place to rule out the so-called “bad cops.”
But we shouldn’t discredit the good officers effortlessly working every day to enforce laws and keep the crime level down.