Believe it or not…
.::I’m actually IN FAVOR OF reducing funding for police departments around the country while significantly putting “more emphasis” (time, energy, resources & $$$) into social services programs to stem the rise of drug addiction, mental illness, etc. and provide quality, effective treatment.
This proposal is already being considered in many cities across the country, most notably, Minneapolis & NYC.
But I have one major problem with, and a suggestion on, how they intend to carry out these plans…
FIRST, you find the necessary funding for these programs somewhere (a temporary surtax, a higher fee on some services, something, somehow) but NOT in reducing your police force NOW nor in hindering its ability to effectively protect life & property.
THEN, you implement your programs (&/or improve/expand existing ones) & closely monitor the results.
Guess what, Einsteins?
If the programs are doing what they’re designed to do, you’ll see a corresponding decrease in the crime rate.
And if crime does, indeed, get reduced, they’ll be less of a need for policing & as such, an offsetting reduction in police funding. This will be the natural course of these actions.
You DO NOT reduce the CURRENT level of protection you’re offering to your citizens BEFORE you measure exactly the effectiveness of these programs & are totally convinced that they’re producing the appropriate outcomes.
Law-abiding citizens are scared shitless of what the current crime rate is doing to their quality of life. Don’t go & reduce that safety net UNLESS & UNTIL you see an appropriate & corresponding decrease in crime!
I know it’s difficult for you “leaders” (?) to actually look at this situation logically & God forbid, apply solid, proven & successful business strategies when it comes to implementing change, but I warn you now…
…if you put the proverbial cart before the horse…
…you’re gonna turn an already-tenuous situation into a complete disaster!
Wait for your programs to work, then simply reap the rewards. And I don’t wanna hear that you must reduce the police budget to finance these programs.
Give me a couple of hours to review your municipal budget & I’ll find more money than you can swing a stick at!
(Note: Reminds me of the time when I lived in Columbus, OH and got a couple of speeding tickets.
I was totally, 100% at fault & had -0- issues with the officers.
But after I paid one in Delaware County, I called them to assure that they received…and applied…my payment.
“Of course, sir! We posted it on-line the same day we received it! I see it right here on your record!”
I was tempted to say, “Well, if you’re really so efficient, why don’t you offer an on-line or phone service for payments then?”, but I didn’t wanna press my luck!
3 days (that was a Friday & now it’s Monday), I get ANOTHER speeding ticket…this time, in my home county of Franklin.
It ends up with me having to leave my car on the side of the highway while the officer drives me home!!!
Oh, yeah, Delaware County is super-modern with their fancy computers & while they did post my check immediately upon receipt (the week earlier), THEY NEVER TRANSMITTED THAT INFORMATION TO THE STATE OF OHIO!!!!!!
“Oh, we posted it immediately, Mr. LoRusso, last Thursday. But we only update our records with the state once a week.
“On Wednesday evenings!”
My license gets suspended.
I go downtown to court, straighten everything out with the judge (there’s an earlier story of how Justice Gail Taylor & I became instant buddies…she threw out my suspended license charge, then reduced all my possible fines & court costs from $300+ to about $50!
Life is good.
A month or so later, I get another speeding ticket!!! 😱😱😱
Again, I’m told that not only was I speeding, but I was driving with a SUSPENDED LICENSE!
“Impossible, Officer” & then I tell him the whole story of Judge Taylor & her fluorescent-green cast on her wrist & all the nice things she said, blah, blah, blah.
This cannot be happening to me!
Again, I hafta go downtown to court & before the actual hearing, I meet with an Asst DA.
I explain everything…again…in excruciating detail to him.
“Well, according to OHIO DPS, Mr. LoRusso, your license is still suspended from back in January!”
Note: DPS/Dept of Public Safety is everyone else’s DMV/Dept of Motor Vehicles.
“That’s impossible!” and, again, I repeat my whole story again.
“Well, did you bring the XYZ Form to them to lift the suspension?”
“What XYZ Form? What’s that?”
“That’s the form you received from this court back in January. You were supposed to bring that to the DPS office on Alum Street so they could restore your license.”
“NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THAT I HAD TO DO THAT!!! I’m rather new to Ohio (fib) & I’m not familiar with all these procedures!
“Wait a minute! This State of Ohio court right here authorized the release of my license suspension, right? Now I was supposed to physically bring a piece of paper from here to the State of Ohio DPS a few miles away even though I was not instructed to do so, right?
For heaven’s sake, why doesn’t the court just transmit that information to the DPS, one state agency to the other??? This is the 21st century!”
That’s when I made my offer to the Asst DA. (It was very similar to the offer I made to Judge Taylor in January in this exact courtroom. She actually agreed, but politely declined as she said, “I’m sure the public service unions wouldn’t like that!”)
“Pls let me come in one morning to review all your policies & procedures. I absolutely guarantee you that before we get to lunchtime, I’ll identify at least $20MM in annualized expense savings & a ton of service efficiencies…and I won’t charge you a dime!!! I swear.”
He looked at me quizzically.
“But I’m dead serious, sir!”
“Sorry, not for me to decide. Though you could write a letter…”
😤 😤 😤
OK, back to my original story…
First, prove to me that your social programs will actually work as advertised!
Otherwise, you’ll be further stretching limited resources designed to protect your citizens & putting them (both police & citizens) at even more risk!
Stop & think this out!
(Lemme tell ya, if any of you civic leaders ever worked for me, I guarantee you’d be collecting that extra $400/week or whatever in unemployment benefits!)
God help us!
This is only MY opinion…you need not agree.
And, as always, thank you so much for listening!
P.S. Since the time I first wrote this piece back in 2020, both NYC & Minneapolis have indeed reduced their police department budgets.
And, not surprisingly, crime has risen significantly…especially violent crime…in each municipality.
Some of the stuff that I’ve read about that local governments across the country are considering &/or have already enacted makes me so sick to my stomach.