‘Defund the Police’ is a counter-productive slogan
‘Defund The Police’ is an inaccurate summation of what the movement to end police violence stands for. The slogan sounds more akin to outright abolishing law enforcement rather than the nuanced reform most advocates strive for.
“I feel like the meaning of (Defund the Police) has been changed by a lot of different people, the conservatives (think) it as ‘Oh you know, we want no police,’ riots in the streets,” said management junior Sameer Abdulmajeed. “Then some leftists just want to take certain resources away from the police and given them to other things, like mental health. The goal is to have needs addressed more specifically, instead of having police as a general force for everything.”
‘Defund the Police’ is not about abolishing police, even though it could be interpreted that way. The movement against police violence is mostly centered on broad reform. A poll done by Gallup found the majority of Americans agree that policing needs major changes.
Opponents of the movement blame the ‘Defund the Police’ for increased crime. Police departments like Oakland Police Department are worried it will be stretched too thin on the decreased budgets leading to increased crime rates.
Narratives like this with warnings of increased crime scare people from supporting movements to end police violence and keep people from supporting the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.
More moderates would maybe be on board if the movement’s main slogan was less extreme. ‘Defund the Police’ doesn’t portray the idea of reform, but abolishment. If progressives want to achieve their goals with changing law enforcement, they’ll need the support of everyone, not just other progressives.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a progressive politician Vermont, said he disagreed with the statement of ‘Defund the Police.’ Sanders said while he does support change in law enforcement, he thinks police should have more training.
All in all, police reform advocates should focus on rebranding the movement, starting with changing the slogan.
Uninformed voters who support police reform may not support the movement because they have a poor understanding of what the goals of the movement are. This can be due to the misleading and extreme slogan.
A slogan like ‘Refund the Police’ or ‘Reform the Police’ would be much more successful at getting the message across and gaining supporters. In order to save the movement, the slogan ‘Defund the Police’ has to change.
Fernando Rivera is an Economics sophomore who can be reached at [email protected]