Seattle’s decision to defund law enforcement has created more problems than it has solved them. This past week a social worker was stabbed and killed according to the Post Millennial.
Kristin Benson, a full-time housing case manager in Seattle, was attacked and stabbed by Hans Dewey Van-Belkum in her office. She was declared dead at the scene and Van-Belkum is now facing first degree murder charges.
Prior to the attack, Benson attempted to de-escalate the situation with no success. Benson was stabbed 12 times according to the autopsy report.
According to the Post Millennial, “Investigators say the 58 year old , formerly homeless suspect, suffered from schizophrenia and he may have been upset because he believed that his Social Security benefits were going to be taken away from him.” Law enforcement also said that he suffered from mental health problems.
This could have been avoided. In almost all of these instances, prior intervention from law enforcement could have saved a life like Kristin’s.
Since the end of September, nearly 120 officers have left the Seattle police department by either retiring or transferring to another department. This leaves the department with only 1200 officers deployable for contingencies – the lowest deployable level since 1990 according to Law Enforcement Today.
Just recently the Seattle City Council finalized their new budget, slashing police funding by 20%. This funding was then redirected to social workers to provide services to the homeless. Crime has been a normalcy among Seattle’s homeless population, and it has been on the rise since the Council slashed department funds.
Defunding law enforcement is not only a stupid idea, but it will quickly worsen the problem itself as seen in Seattle. The only beneficiaries are the criminals themselves while everyone else is left to fend for themselves. Seattle has seen this already with the lack of criminal prosecutions, a reason as to why some officers left the Seattle police department.
The solution is not less funding or no funding at all, but instead the exact opposite. The alternatives are quite simple.
- Provide more comprehensive training protocols that not only teach enforcement, but also how to better serve the community. A good example comes from Sweden where officers are given 3 years of training is sociology, community relations and psychology.
- More police. Not less. Recent studies show that black communities want MORE police, not less according to Gallup. A greater police presence allows for better engagement in the community.
- Restrictions on “Wandering Officers” – This is a term for officers who have been fired from one department for misconduct, and hired by another one.
- Personal responsibility over qualified immunity – Something promoted strongly by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. If citizens must obey the law, then government officials must obey the Constitution and the rights of every citizen.
These are a few solutions that are reasonable and could actually solve the issues at hand. “Defunding” the police will do more harm than good.