Hardly anyone really wants the police to be defunded or otherwise abolished, and most of those calling for defunding understand that it’s not going to happen. What might well happen, and what the “defund” crowd really seeks, is a severe weakening of the police — a neutering, in effect.
It wants a smaller police force burdened by all sorts of restrictions. It wants a police force that won’t really police. It wants a police force that will largely stay out of black neighborhoods, confining itself to answering calls. Sheepishly.
By demanding defunding, the far left hopes to make a neutered police force look like a middle of the road option. It hopes to enable politicians to gain political cover for rendering the police ineffective by saying “no” to defunding.
We know what the consequences of weakening the police force will be. It’s called the Ferguson effect. We’ve seen it in Baltimore.
Following Freddy Gray’s death, the police force came under sustained attack by local politicians and the Obama Justice Department. It backed off from proactive policing, and the size of the force decreased significantly.
Violent crime skyrocketed. In the five years before Gray’s death in 2015, homicides averaged around 215 per year. In the past five years, they have averaged around 335, and reached a high of 348 last year. Residents attribute this to “relaxed police patrols.”
The left hopes to spread the Baltimore model throughout America. This would be an intended consequence.
Another consequence — maybe intended, maybe not — is likely to be a diminution in the quality of cops. As police morale and funding dips, the best cops are likely to be a disproportionate share of those who leave. This will include (1) highly experienced members who are close enough to retirement age to collect a good pension and (2) the cream of the younger crop who will have the easiest time finding another job — be it on a more hospitable, less urban force or in another line of work.
Already, there are reports that rank-and-file New York Police Department officers say they will leave the force because of lack of support from the top amid nationwide efforts to restrict law enforcement. Former NYPD chief Bernard Kerik claims that hundreds of officers are leaving out of frustration with the department’s treatment of the city’s law enforcement. There’s a rumor that more than 600 have already “gone to pension.”
In addition, the applicant pool for new officers is likely to shrink and diminish in quality. Some of the best potential applicants will look elsewhere. Applicants who get off on the power of being a cop will form a larger share of the pool.
Thus, the percentage of mediocre and bad cops can be expected to increase. The raw number of them might also increase unless the size of the force decreases dramatically.
This is the future being “reimagined” by the left. Little imagination is required to figure out that this future doesn’t work.