Ithaca New York Provides a Model to Defund the Police While Supporting the Police

I find it baffling that the same organization which investigates murders also spends their time directing traffic. Others find this problematic too. Thanks to the strong efforts of Black Lives Matter over the past years (and in Canada let’s not forget Idle No More) calls to defund the police by reallocating funding to services which help people have grown substantially. Many cities are noticing vast improvements in their communities once they change which departments they fund, and now Ithaca is looking to do the same. The approach that Ithaca is taking may be one of the most noteworthy yet.

“IPD currently spends one third of its time responding to calls for service that essentially never lead to arrests,” Myrick writes in the report’s introduction. “Those calls, as well as a majority of patrol activity, can and should be handled by unarmed Community Solution Workers well trained in de-escalation and service delivery. This will allow our new Public Safety Workers to focus on preventing, interrupting and solving serious crime.”

Now, he’s investing his political capital in a plan that would remove armed officers from most civilian interactions, which he said should free those who remain to fully investigate and solve serious crimes. “The investigators are going to be focused on the shooting last Tuesday, they will have nothing on their plate except finding that gun, finding that shooter and taking them off the street,” he said. “They won’t be pulled away from that work by a motor vehicle crash on 3rd Street or a welfare check on Madison.”

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