UMD Professor Weighs in on What ‘Defund the Police' Means

"Defunding doesn't mean taking all funding away from law enforcement"

As more protesters call for defunding police departments, it's leaving many wondering what that actually means.

A sociology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park who studies police-civilian relations as it relates to racial and social inequality says defunding means providing less money to police and more to social services. It does not mean eliminating all policing, he says.

"Defunding doesn't mean taking all funding away from law enforcement. What it does mean is using resources better to protect the people," said Dr. Rashawn Ray, who is also a fellow with the Brookings Institution.

He says more money in areas like mental health services and social work could relieve overworked officers who handle these calls now.

"They are responding to everything from a cat being stuck in a tree to a pot hole being in the street to someone holding a gun. The extremes that police go through in a day is something that most people cannot understand," Ray said.

During a press call with President Donald Trump's campaign Monday, the president's supporters in law enforcement called defunding the police a radical left proposal.

"To defund or eliminate our local police is absurd. It would create nothing but chaos and anarchy," said retired sheriff Bunny Welsh, with America's Sheriff's for Trump.

"How could you possibly send a social worker, or a nurse, or a healthcare provider, or someone who works with children youth or family into a neighborhood without knowing they would have protection and without local law enforcement there would be no protection," Welsh said.

Ray says there is data that does not support funding for police.

"As funding for law enforcement has increased, particularly dramatically over the past two decades, then that increase in funding has not correlated with a decrease in crime," Ray said.

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