The narrative that police have the most dangerous job and deserve the most funding, resources, and empathy has been easily debunked numerous times.
But as cities explore community violence intervention (CVI) as an alternative to policing, a group of unsung, underpaid heroes urgently needs more support.
For example, 52% of Chicago’s 200+ interventionists have witnessed someone die from violence. One of every five have been shot at themselves, and 94% reported indicators of secondary traumatic stress which can happen from even witnessing violence.
Less than 1% of officers experience being shot at on the job. Yet, police are viewed as “legitimate” public safety workers and are compensated and resourced as such.
This disparity isn’t surprising. Systems like capitalism and the criminal legal system exploit, overwork, and dispose of us. Black people are always expected to do more with less.
But abolition is about redefining what safety means to us. That includes valuing the emotional and physical safety of those working to prevent violence.
Why not reallocate funding and resources to support and expand CVI programs, and build communities that value everyone’s role in Black liberation, including health and trauma workers?
In fact, why not imagine a liberated future without police at all? We all deserve a fair shot at seeing what that future could look like. And to do that, violence outreach workers need proper investment and care.