There’s been some talk about defunding the police in Marin.
It’s true that some police officers have acted horrendously, with racist intent, careless about the consequences. But is it fair to punish all police officers based on the behavior of some?
Would weakening police departments really strengthen racial justice? Would all families truly be safer if there were fewer police on patrol?
Marin County has a multicultural population, and people move here because it’s scenic and safe.
Our legal system is supposed to bolster safety and ensure fair treatment for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender identity or socio-economic status.
But laws on paper are merely abstractions, unless they are enforced. The difficult, often life-threatening task of law-enforcement has been delegated to a select few, including the police.
How’s it possible for under-funded, short-staffed police departments to respond adequately to our calls for help and protection? What if it’s your child or mine on the line, dialing 911?
As a mother and professional working with vulnerable immigrant children, I’ve appreciated the assistance of the Novato Police. In recent years, I’ve noticed that the NPD has diversified its staff, added more Spanish-speaking officers, and hired more women. The NPD also offers Community Academies in English and Spanish and reaches out to youths through the Police Explorers Program.
The low-income teens I work with cherish the Explorers Program, which presents an overview of the laws that pave the way for a more peaceful society. Explorers are additionally shown a pathway to careers in criminal justice, law, and law-enforcement.
There are many ways to magnify racial justice. Rather than defunding the police, it may be more helpful to provide them with more funding to enhance cultural and linguistic competency, accountability, mental health, alternatives to use of force, and citizen oversight.