Prevention Not Detention Instead of Defund the Police

Prevention not Detention is really what “Defund the Police” is all about. Now don’t get me wrong, there are those that say to just up and get rid of the police. That isn’t where “Defund the Police” really started. It was a bumper sticker and an idea that didn’t quite fit together. Okay yeah, in the heat of the moment that is what some think it means.

They are angry and frustrated and tired, but it doesn’t really mean get rid of all police funding. It means change the way we do things, pay for those things instead and when many of the duties of the police are replaced by those better qualified for the situation then you don’t need as much police or police funding.

The Thin Blue Line

Everyone loves the police, right? That flag with the blue line down the middle, its almost patriotic the way they push it, with the American flag and all, but what does it really mean? It means cops don’t snitch on cops. That’s the line, that’s the line you don’t cross. If you snitch you’ll have to watch your own back if you get in trouble on the street. That is the threat.

Why is this even a thing? I mean cops shouldn’t be doing anything wrong to begin with to lead to snitching. I’m sorry, but snitches get stitches is far from what any adult, much less the police, should be saying. This is how cops end up beating people, even killing them, and get away with it. They’ve been given a blank check and created a system of enforcement. Its gone on long enough that it can no longer be ignored and cameras have brought the light of day.

Just do away with them all!

That is where “Defund the Police” comes in. In some ways it is accurate in that the system needs a complete uprooting and overhaul. Now, that overhaul does need to lead to there being a police force, just one that is trained differently. Those officers need to know that they can make it to retirement. They aren’t likely to get shot on the job and so they don’t have to go in to every encounter all bowed up. At the same time they need to seriously chill. I personally have seen officers antagonize people and use their position to intimidate.

We need to reduce their need to interact in the first place and then teach them skills to avoid escalation. That requires money and time and enough officers to both have some on duty and others training. It also requires a public to understand that sometimes shit happens and they have to be able to make it home at night, erring on the side of seeing their family again, even if in the split second maybe they get it wrong.

Do we really want cops arresting people and putting them in jail?

Well you might say hell yeah! Except isn’t the real goal to not have crime in the first place? No crime means no arresting people and no jail. That is my personal preference. Its not na├»ve either. Sure, there will be crime and we do need police. There are knuckleheads in this world, some of them evil, and we need police there to deal with them. Those calling to get rid of police wholesale are not genuinely concerned for a civilized society. That said, there are way too many people in prison and police are far to quick to pull a gun.

What is “Prevention Not Detention”?

We know where most crime comes from. Its people that are poor or bored. They are tired and run down and just don’t care about society anymore. To stop them from committing crime we need to address the root cause. Poor? They need a job. Bored? They need a job. We need to actively help people find the right job for them. Something that really supports them and that still gives them time to have a life. If they are busy working then they aren’t committing crime. If they value themselves they’ll value the society they live in because they are part of it. That is the problem right now. They have slipped out of society to not caring.

How do we bring people back into society?

That is where “Defund the Police” comes in. Oh wait, I mean “Prevention not Detention”. What are they saying when they talk about this? They are saying to call someone else before calling the police.

If its a homeless person that someone wants moved then call social services. Empower social services to get that person a meal, a shower, new clothes, and a place to live. Nothing fancy, just shelter. Then work on getting that person some mental help and a job helping out somewhere. Move them down a path to bring them back.

If its someone screaming at the top of their lungs on the side of the road at someone that isn’t there, then get a mental health professional involved. Sure, have some backup just in case, but stationed around the corner. Have some big but gentle guys there to help if need be.

Of course we then need a place to take these people that can help. We destroyed our mental health system back in the 80’s. We did it because it was basically a form of jail. We can’t go back there, but we do need to go somewhere. Empower a mental health system to keep these people and at the same time empower an advocate to set them free. We need someone to ensure the person gets mental health such that they can participate in society and we need an entirely different entity to help that person not become a prisoner of a system.

How do we pay for this?

Holy crap, look, jobs! Listen, instead of us putting money in to an insurance industry, how about we employ those people in work that helps others. We waste billions on health insurance executive bonuses every year. Money that doesn’t do a thing to put a Band-Aid on a cut much less cure cancer. Kill that industry with universal healthcare and create a new one with the money that is saved.

That is a homeless and mentally disabled person that isn’t engaged with police to the point where they end up dead. Those are just two examples. Before calling police, call social services, mental health services, child welfare services, the high school coach or guidance counselor, a separate road enforcement service not empowered to arrest, or an EMT. There will still be plenty of spaces for police to serve their role.

Prevention Not Detention starts at dispatch

How do we take police out of interacting with people that do not require their interaction? That is simple, dispatch. 911 and police dispatch needs to readily shift calls off to these other sources. Sure, they might come back to the police, but if its clearly not an imminent threat to life, have someone else there to move the call along. Yep, look, more jobs.

What else, it isn’t just about 911 is it?

Nope, we need kids to be invested in their future. Prevention Not Detention requires some way of steering people away from committing crimes. We need money going in to schools and not shifted off in to private hands via testing companies. We need after school programs and we might even need some rules that say a kid needs to choose something. One hour after school playing baseball. Maybe not with the school team, but some intramural sports. It might be a club for Youtubers, or Tik-Tokers, but something. Maybe its classes in CPR and trauma care, HAM radio, or any number of other skills that might be fun to learn and actually serve a purpose in life. Something that fills the gap between school letting out and mom and dad getting home. Look , more jobs, because those teachers already get paid to do their classwork, this is extra.

Prevention Not Detention is about building society

Thing is, we already know all of this. Somewhere along the line someone said it was too expensive. That person saw those dollars used on those programs as not benefitting them and coming out of their pocket. Instead they built a gate community and, well, left society. The rich left society for gated communities and left the poor to leave society for crime. The vast majority in the middle have no gates and are the victims of that crime. The rich just call the cops and turn a blind eye to what they do to survive in this system.

Its time for a change, wholesale, from the kids on the streets to the gates community. Lets start with getting rid of one stupid bumper sticker and sit down and make some new laws. Laws that involve funding the right programs and the right training. Training that includes wiping away that blue line.

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