Six Approaches To Police Reform, And The Critical Questions They Raise

police gathered in a line with riot gear
Zain Murdock
July 24, 2023

Fund vs. Defund

Funding things like police training and technology is a reform that reinforces the system. It suggests that if we throw more money into policing, it’ll become safer for us - without evidence of that being true. Defunding the police is a change many abolitionists support, though.

How would your world change if some of that money went to something else, like healthcare or housing?

Jail Cops vs. Alternative Consequences 

Killer cops need to be prevented from killing again, but prosecuting them for the rare chance they’ll end up in prison doesn’t change the system itself. 

But what if we eliminated paid administrative leave for cops under investigation and made them ineligible for rehire? Or held them responsible for paying misconduct settlements instead of civilians? 

What impact could that have?

Hire Black Officers vs. Reduce Hiring Overall 

If the problem with policing is white supremacist officers staining the system, hiring Black officers could help. But the system is anti-Black. And countless Black officers have brutalized and killed people. 

So alternatively, there are reforms to decrease the size of police departments.

For Black people who genuinely want to help our communities, space and resources would open up to hire people working in violence prevention, emergency response, and so much more that we have yet to imagine. 

What do you think we could do?

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