Real-World Examples of Police Defunding and Reform

Cincinnati, OH, USA. Photo by Julian Wan on unsplash

By Varick Mazumder age 10 and IndyKids Staff

While according to White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump is “appalled” by the current BLM movement, some states have already started taking steps toward reexamining their police systems, and some countries provide ideal examples of how this can be achieved. 

The Republic of Georgia, for example, used to be “one of the most corrupt places on Earth,” with a dishonest police force, according to The Atlantic. When a new government was established in 2004, Georgian leaders abolished the police force and eliminated 30,000 police officers. From there, Georgia rebuilt a smaller and better trained police force.

Other countries have also taken a different approach to policing. A Washington Post analysis found that 25% of those shot and killed by police in the United States within a six-month period in 2015 were in a mental health crisis. A new approach in Sweden sends out mental health professionals to crisis situations without police assistance. This change resulted in less violence in Sweden’s policing. The United States can learn from this by sending out specialists to different emergencies. 

The U.S. police system could benefit from better education programs for would-be cops. Norway, for example, views policing as an “elite occupation,” according to Time magazine, and only hires the most advanced candidates who apply for positions. “I think that the United States must learn that it takes time to educate people,” said Rune Glomseth, a professor at Norwegian Police University College in an interview with Time. Only 14% of candidates who applied were accepted to the Dutch police schools in 2015. Their officers are required to undergo a three-year degree, compared to the U.S. programs, which only require 21 weeks’ worth of training.

Ultimately, the United States could learn from these alternative models, but implementing them will be difficult on a national level. Changes could happen more easily on a local level if cities and state governments are willing to reexamine these alternatives, according to Lawrence Sherman, director of Cambridge University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, in an interview with The Atlantic.

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