The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M infielder Trinity Cannon (6) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Friday, May 24, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies a win away from Women’s College World Series after 6-5 win over Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 24, 2024

Texas A&M softball experienced every inch of the pendulum of emotions in its NCAA Super Regional matchup with Texas on Friday, May 24, but...

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Defunding the police is not the solution

Police
via live.staticflickr.com
Police

There have been cries to defund the police for quite some time now, an idea that’s dangerous and would have serious repercussions. 

Before really getting into things, let’s address the elephant in the room: police killings. 

They’re a problem; there’s no denying it. Every week there seems to be a new police shooting of an unarmed Black person. This is cause for great concern, but it does not mean disbanding an entire organization that protects communities everyday is the right thing to do. 

If you don’t believe me, take a trip up north to New York City, where last July the city cut the police budget by $1 billion. Since the New York City Council made that foolish decision, there has been a massive increase in shootings. Compared to this time last year, there has been a 54 percent increase in people who have been shot. One of the main programs to be cut was the city’s anti-crime unit whose sole purpose was to, you guessed it, get illegal guns off the street. Correlation does not always mean causation, yes. However, I think it’s safe to say slashing the police budget and seeing a sudden surge in shootings are certainly related. 
 

Next stop: Portland, Oregon, another major city which is facing the same issues as the Big Apple. Last year, Portland also made huge budget cuts to its police department in response to the defund the police movement. One of the major programs they got rid of was the Gun Violence Reduction Team. Since then, the historic increase in shootings has continued. So much so that the feds decided to say “we’ve gotta step in” by assembling an FBI-led task force to investigate shootings in the Portland area. 

I could go on listing other major cities that have seen a spike in crime after decreasing funding, but the outcome would be the same as Portland and New York. This isn’t rocket science — a decrease in funding increases crime. 
If we really want to get to the root of the issue, we need to rethink policing itself. For instance, when it comes to mental health calls, police should not show up alone. Frankly, they don’t have an adequate amount of training to skillfully deal with those who are suffering from mental health issues. Instead, they should be accompanied by social workers who have made careers of helping traumatized, sometimes violent people. That way citizens would have a mental health expert there to de-escalate the situation, but if things turned violent, the social workers would have an officer there to protect everyone. A similar technique to this has proven effective in Denver, where the city started the Support Team Assisted Response program. 

 

And with respect to mental health, police departments should be required to have in-house therapists. Being a police officer, especially now, is an extremely stressful job. A lot of these officers have no one to talk to about the everyday stressors that come with being a cop. In fact, it is estimated that up to 35 percent of cops suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder. Having a trained professional for them to talk to will surely increase their job performance. On-site therapists will also be more likely to spot an officer who should no longer be a cop. This could result in dangerous officers being removed from police forces all over the country, potentially leading to a decrease in fatal police shootings. 

There are many more things that need to happen to have meaningful police reform. These include required monthly mental health checks for police officers, more community involved programs to strengthen the relationship between cops and those they’re sworn to protect and an increased effort to get minorities on the force. Getting into the details of all that would end up being more reminiscent of a thesis paper rather than a column, something my editors wouldn’t appreciate all that much. Nonetheless, the point is there is lots of work to be done. But all of this requires more funding, not less. 

In short, the idea of getting rid of police is foolish. Luckily, most Americans agree. A USA Today poll found only 18 percent of Americans support the defund the police movement. It’s true only a small percentage of incidents police officers respond to are violent, but they are still the ones to respond. When you’ve been robbed, you call the police. If there is a shooting, the first people to respond, to put their lives on the line, to protect the community, are the police. The harsh reality is there will always be bad people who wish to do bad things, and we need someone to protect us from those people. We should be working with cops, not against them. 

We often forget that cops are human, too. They aren’t perfect, but no one is. The more we start to realize this, the more meaningful change can come about. 

Sam Somogye is a political science senior and columnist for The Battalion.
 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *