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Defunding the police: How crazy is that?

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No normal person needs to be told how profoundly stupid and unpopular is the idea of defunding or disbanding the Norwalk Police Department.  Or for that matter any other major municipal police force.

The idea nevertheless has speedily established a foothold in the Democratic Party less than five months out from a presidential election they are desperate to win. Does this make sense?

It makes sense if you appreciate how thoroughly the party’s “moderates” (assuming there are any left) have lost control to their extreme left wing. This is the party that under President Bill Clinton’s initiative funded as many as 100,000 additional police officers for our municipal cities and towns.

The slide to the extreme left got big momentum in 2016 when the Democrats allowed an avowed socialist who was not even a member of the party to seek the party’s presidential nomination. Bernie Sanders’ schtick was to tack “democratic” in front of “socialist,” but that fooled nobody who had spent five minutes checking into his background. Honeymooning in the Soviet Union, as he did in the 1980s, never did catch on with other Americans.

The “Democratic Socialist” line, however, was attractive to the ill-educated cadres being churned out by our indoctrination centers (our universities and public schools). And together with their far-left professors, fellow-traveler media types, and clueless Hollywood icons, they made a potent combination.

But the Dem leadership figured, why worry? They had Hillary, the smartest woman in the world who was sure to become the first female POTUS.  So they waved Bernie into their nominating process, only to find they had created an electoral Frankenstein who in the final round had to be taken out by any means necessary, but we got the Bad Orange Man anyway.

Then came the mid-term elections of 2018.  It was the cheated Bernie Bros and the heart-broken Hilleryites burning for revenge who gave us the current state of the party. A party freshly populated with hard-left zealots at all levels of government, from Congress to state houses to local towns and hamlets.  As one observer put it, “their woke left fringe is now in charge.”

Sure enough, as events in 2019 moved along, it was obvious that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taking orders instead of giving them, appearances notwithstanding. That’s why we were treated to the impeachment farce about five minutes after the collapse of the Mueller farce.

Looking now at the defund-the-police lunacy, you have to wonder: Have the Democrats jumped the shark? Has their unbridled hatred and fear of the Bad Orange Man brought them to the point where they lose all touch with the mainstream of American voters and pitch themselves into a permanent decline?

One year ago, historian Victor Davis Hanson predicted as much. “What is strange about the new envisioned progressive agendas for 2020,” he said, “is that no serious Democratic presidential candidate next year could ever run on them.”

Agendas like these:

  • A Green New Deal: eliminating the internal combustion engine, the fossil-fuel industry, air travel, and cow farts. Joe Biden has embraced the GND.
  • Abortion to the level of indifference to infanticide, a position that Ralph Northam, Virginia’s Democratic governor, brought into the light last year.
  • Open borders and abolishing internal immigration enforcement (i.e., ICE). Notwithstanding its temporary eclipse by the COVID pandemic, this one is still very much alive
  • Providing “free” medical services and other benefits to “undocumented” residents, a bid to turn the entire United States into California.

 

Each agenda item looked like political suicide for the party that nurtured it. Yet it seems to have had little effect on overall poll numbers.  Will the idea of defunding/abolishing the police be any different?

Another question: Are they serious? Maybe not, but at the least they intend to weaken and neuter the police as much as possible. Already we’re seeing reports of hundreds or even thousands of seasoned officers around the country putting in for early retirement.  And the applicant pool for new officers is shrinking dramatically.

The ultimate goal may be to have the policing function taken over entirely by the federal government, like what then-presidential candidate Barack Obama talked about in 2008 — a “Civilian National Security Force,”  one that would be “just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded as the US Military.”

Great idea.  Just call an agency in Washington, D.C., to get the gendarmes to work on a rape in your neighborhood.

Be that as it may, while the Democrats will certainly remain strong in Connecticut, one suspects there’s a limit to the number of sharks they can jump and still remain viable at the national level.

 

Bill Dunne

26 comments

Deborah June 23, 2020 at 6:53 am

Defunding the police in simpler terms means allocating the extremely large budget that the police gets to other important resources in each community. Defunding the police does not mean get rid of the police.
Police officers do not need full war gear during a domestic disturbance. Instead of police officer ready for war how about a social worker who actually has gained years of experience dealing with these types of things?
Instead of calling a police officer when a homeless person is sleeping under a bridge why not have that call directed to a counselor who will utilize the city’s resources to help this person become a hard working citizen and build on their financial freedom.
Lastly, police officers aren’t even fully trained to handle many of these situations. Their level of schooling is minimal in comparison to those who work with people in the situations I mentioned.
Police officers will still be needed for other things but a lot of times they come in guns blazing to situations to situations that could be deescalated in other ways.

Norwalk parent June 23, 2020 at 7:16 am

Very well said.
And isn’t the Democratic Party (as we knew it) supposed to be the Party of tolerance? In 2020, the far left progressives are the LEAST tolerant people in the country. They don’t agree with something?…. Attack that person at all costs.
So, my husband has been paying a fortune for his and my health insurance for 12 years, as well as our two children. He gets up and goes to work over 60 hours a week. The four of us were all born here in the USA. Again, we pay for our own health insurance.
However, if you sneak into this country illegally. you are entitled to free health insurance? In what planet or time period does that even remotely make sense?
You’re right, this is no longer the Party of Bill Clinton, who, even though he his misdeeds, was a damn good President.
This is now the party of AOC, BLM, Bernie, outage and cancel culture, and a guy who is running for President, but won’t leave his basement, who promised to choose a female VP…no matter if a person from another gender is more qualified or not.
What a time to be alive. (Sarcasm)

David Muccigrosso June 23, 2020 at 8:27 am

As a progressive, I may not be happy about how Democrats act, and on a local level I may be happy to work with Republicans against the corrupt Rilling administration.

But you, Sir, are despicable.

Stephanie Thomas June 23, 2020 at 8:52 am

Defunding the police, disbanding the police, and abolishing the police are totally different concepts, yet linked here as one. I offer two anecdotes as why many are in favor of what is popularly called defending the police, but what really means funding their core mission to protect while reallocating some of their other functions to those agencies better suited to deal with them.

Anecdote #1 – Many parents have children with disabilities who are prone to occasional bouts of violence. As these children age and grow in size, the parent can no longer hold them down until it passes. Friends tell me of their conflict – call someone into their home armed with guns and tasers? Fearing a dreadful outcome, they suffer in silence instead, often locked away in a bedroom to wait it out.

Anecdote #2 – My former next door neighbor used to yell obscenities at his grandmother who was home bound so loudly that neighbors across the street could here. All of the neighbors would call the police, because that is who we are told to call. Once they confirmed no physical harm, they would leave. This happened again and again.

I don’t know many officers who want to be placed into these situations. Wouldn’t it be better to have someone trained for these interactions, who can help provide solutions, to respond instead?

Babar Sheikh June 23, 2020 at 8:53 am

Bill, policing and the prison industrial complex have been a problem for decades. Nothing started in 2016 as you seem to believe. Your naïveté is laughable if it wasn’t so harmful to society. People who are blind/ignorant like you are also part of the problem. Defunding police departments a little so you can fund a department to deal properly with domestic disputes and mental health issues Is not a crazy idea. It’s common sense. Look at the protests/marches in France, they get pretty violent, but their police force isn’t armed like it’s fighting a battle in Iraq. Defunding the police so they can’t buy military grade weapons is common sense. I really want to say “wake up or shut up” but I won’t.

JustATaxpayer June 23, 2020 at 8:59 am

Hey Mayor Rilling

Where are you on defunding the Norwalk Police Department? The Minneapolis Mayor was asked that question by the protestors, it didn’t end well.

John ONeill June 23, 2020 at 10:55 am

Quick note: Norwalk Police force is a top notch organization. They’ve handled themselves professionally and proactively in today’s climate. I want to send a shoutout and my thanks for a job well done over the years. Keep up the good work.

Holden Caulfield June 23, 2020 at 11:18 am

Is this an argument in favor of buying more bomb-proof, military grade hummers for the Norwalk PD? You are spinning this into something it is not.

John Levin June 23, 2020 at 12:24 pm

Bill, I think that you are confused by the slogan “defund the police”. In my view, it was an unfortunate early message selection made because it fit much better on a bumper sticker, or protest sign, than: “We should seriously re-evaluate our funding priorities for community services at the local level”. I understand that politics rarely mixes with nuance, but the fundamental issues of local funding priorities, and reviewing the effectiveness of government services at the local level, in my view, are serious and worthy of reasoned discussion and debate. That’s what is meant by “de-fund the police”.

Now, I ramble on:

Information and transparency would be an excellent start. How many people in Norwalk even know how much our city spends, where that money comes from, how much is spent on its various services, what the budget for policing is, and how it is allocated? I sure don’t. But usually we seek to elect representatives who can know this stuff and figure out the best solutions, hopefully while being checked by citizen activists, a minority party serving when necessary as loyal opposition, and a free and relentlessly nosy press.

My own experience with Norwalk’s police, in the nearly 30 years I have lived here, has been overwhelmingly positive: I am consistently impressed by their professionalism and the strength of its leadership; as far as I can tell, they do a great job. But as a 61-year-old white man with few interactions, what do I know? I believe it’s Norwalk’s 3-member Police Commission (and non-existent civilian review board?) that are responsible for knowing. Maybe they can offer our residents a town hall or teach-in? I would love to see that as a starting point.

Cris Bowers June 23, 2020 at 1:21 pm

O.M.G. NO ONE is suggesting, even remotely, that we should do away with policing. Before you start parroting the gospel of division that is tearing the country apart, learn what the terms mean!

Next, quit tearing down the enormous number of people who identify as Democrat or progressive, or those who just want a different president. This is a neighborhood forum meant to bring people together. It is not a place to spew a screed that will do nothing but drive people into opposite corners. I’ll tell you a little secret: people don’t like to be insulted, personally or for their politics.

This country is where it is because people aren’t listening to each other or respecting each other’s right to their opinion. Taking a sledgehammer to your neighbors is not the way to go. You’re in Norwalk, not Congress, or on Fox or CNN.

Bill Dunne, when you start your first sentence by calling people abnormal and profoundly stupid, how likely do you think they’ll be open to your “wisdom?”

Dial down and learn to listen. Cultivate a little respect for others… didn’t we all learn that by second grade? And don’t swallow lies and propaganda, because you help no one by repeating them.

Eleanor Lx. June 23, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Bravo! Thanks for writing what the silent majority is thinking. There is no doubt whatsoever that Donald Trump will easily win reelection given the derangement inflicting the left. The Democrat party is no longer a mainstream party and must be marginalized at the polls this November.

Ron Morris June 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Bill Dunne You views are far right wing extremist views. I would expect no different from you.
Everyone should read Deborah’s post as it has the true facts.
Also John ONeill please tell me that your post “Norwalk Police force is a top notch organization” is a joke. The Norwalk police have had many federal civil right suits against them. They were rated the worst for abuse of minorities with the Taser for many years. They were rated the 2nd worse for many years for racial profiling at traffic stops. Also many of the cops have been arrested themselves over the years for many different crimes, including sexual abuse of children shall I go on? Also let us not forget the many unsolved crimes.
DEFUND THE POLICE

Peter Franz June 23, 2020 at 3:36 pm

If you actually listen to police departments around the country, they too are tired of being the go-to solution for a variety of social ills.

Mental health? Drug abuse? Domestic abuse? Young men without work opportunities? The police are tired of being the solution for everything.

And coincidentally, this is exactly what “defund the police” means. Spending money more wisely to actually repair, not just arrest these many social ills.

It would have been nice if Mr. Dunn took the time to educate himself about the topic he was attempting to write about.

Dana Pevsner June 23, 2020 at 3:51 pm

The writer of this opinion piece is out of touch with the times and the very idea of progress. Thank you to commenters Deborah, David, Babar, Stephanie, Holden, John Levin, Cris, and Ron for their humane and intelligent comments in response. I thank goodness for all Black Lives Matter activists and the #DefundThePolice movement.

JustaTaxpayer June 23, 2020 at 4:08 pm

In many Democrat run cities there’s been a call, as part of defunding to remove police from schools. Remember where you were when you first heard of the Sandy Hook? There’s a reason why there are SWAT teams.

I say keep all those things in place. The one that gets me is the amount of overtime paid for police standing over a ditch being dug. Who came up with that gravy train?

John ONeill June 23, 2020 at 4:29 pm

@Ron Morris: Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
If you can provide actual documentation to support your claims of recent Norwalk PD transgressions please do, without generalizing.Our police officers have an incredibly difficult job. Much like a baseball umpire, when things go according to plan no one recognizes the job they do. When a Norwalk officer makes a mistske, it’s front page news…I personally think our guys do the best they can. I guess there’s just a lot of mentally ill people running around so maybe we need more social workers and psychiatrists. I hope you’re willing to pay for that because it’s going to cost plenty. Anyone who think’s police budgets will be reduced long term is smoking imported cigarettes from Massachusetts. We may have higher costs for social services, but police budgets will not drop LONG TERM..Again,a thank you to Chief K. and the professionals who work under him..

Mike O'Reilly June 23, 2020 at 4:35 pm

I encourage everyone to read “Policing in America Must Change NY Times Magazine June 21 2020
Lot’s of good insights here we will be debating for the near future. One of the panelist is Scott Thomson, former Chief of Police Camden N.J.
After reading this we can have a civil discussion on what could work going forward. I would be interested in what The Mayor, Police Chief and our Police officers take away from this article.

Bryan Meek June 23, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Let’s assume for a second that the wording of “defund” was poorly chosen, if indeed it was supposed to mean allocate some of the resources elsewhere. Let’s ignore that the movement where this started in Minneapolis, is going full steam ahead with total elimination.

Where then, should these “extra” resources be allocated? (I say “extra” because by most forecasts budgeted revenues are going to miss by 10 figures in this state alone.)

Should they be allocated to DCF which by last counts expends $55,000 per caseload? (that’s a 2015 number I’m working off of since they removed all transparency from the numbers). Or should we create a new Department with the usual crony hires, interminable labor contracts, and zero accountability of the other umpteen organizations charged with social well being?

Please enlighten me.

Alice June 23, 2020 at 6:50 pm

All of you who agree with defunding police departments need to join them to see what they have to deal with every time they go on a call! It may sound ridiculous to say they do put their lives on the line whenever they go on a call.

Patrick Cooper June 23, 2020 at 7:19 pm

Well this is a food fight.

It’s amazing how many folks not only on this post – but virtually everywhere – do not understand the skill and artform of “messaging”. Let me try and help.

This slogan “Defund the Police” is a very clever trick by the GOP – and as usual – the democrats take the bait, hook, line, and sinker. Well meaning, the D party is – but not smart. At least – not when it comes to messaging.

All of you who have very artfully explained the nuance of this – that’s it not “really” about that – it’s about “this” – do not realize – you are helping your adversary. You are using their messaging. Read George Lakoff “Don’t think of an Elephant!” – and if you can comprehend his guide – you might begin to win debates (well – there is no competition in CT – but elsewhere).

Think about it. We have a November election – and a certain person is pushing a “Law & Order” theme – a traditional GOP dog whistle that has loads of connotations and history. You are right Bill Clinton was a smart politician – he took this foundational issue and turned it backwards – essentially removing it from the “contract with America” arsenal.

So – “Defund the police” is intended to scare the hell out of predominantly white, mid-western, suburban moms. And the more the democrats use it – the more they help Trump.

@John Levin – you make a two pronged point – about “information” and “transparency”. Those things can be used as well, both ways. Take our city – for the first time in my memory – the latest tax bill came with a flyer that detailed FY2021 operating expenditures. It shows how “Education” is our primary expenditure – 54.05% of the budget (so don’t blame Harry – even though he has created the environment for that budget expansion). It is “information” – but is it truth? It’s transparent – but in a way that attempts to fool the electorate. BTW – it says “Police” is 6.82% of the budget – but “Fire” is 5.07%. No one has any idea what that means.

In the end, it is amazing what the two major political parties can get everyone squawking about – pitting sides – creating division – because …….wait for it…….it leads to fund raising. And the truth is – both political parties are more alike than different – they both fail us equally – and the two tribes of the electorate continue to follow them like sheep.

Babar Sheikh June 23, 2020 at 8:07 pm

JustaTaxpayer, can you tell us all about a time when a SWAT team stopped a school shooting? Stop the fear mongering.

John ONeill June 24, 2020 at 8:56 am

@Dan – I hate to say it, but posts like yours are insulting. You thank the “Humane and Intelligent” posts of those that agree with you. By deductii8th others must be inhumane and ignorant? I would think even an ignorant person would find that insulting. As Larry David would say, I find that pretty, pretty pretty sad..

JustaTaxpayer June 24, 2020 at 1:58 pm

@Babar. Clearly you’re mixing things up. Name for me the last school shooting where there was an armed police officer at the door. With all the nut jobs out out there today, were not in Mayberry anymore

Also, why do banks in some areas have guards with weapons? It’s because bank robbers rob banks because it’s where the money is.

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