If you are reading this near when I wrote it, you are very likely aware of the
worldwide protests related to the murder of George Floyd.
At the root of it, these protests are about police brutality, and many are asking the question “are the police really who we should be calling in order to solve the problems we see?”
There is a movement to defund the police. Specifically, there are a number of jobs that we have been asking the police to do that could be done more effectively (and with less violence, and likely in a less costly way). The following pictures paint a vision of what would be possible if we diverted more of our resources towards solving some of these problems instead of suppressing them with people who are trained primarily in the use of force.
[image of text: SOMEONE IS BEHAVING ERRATICALLY & IN HARM’S WAY. IMAGINE… …TEXTING A NUMBER & AN UNARMED URGENT RESPONDER TRAINED IN BEHAVIORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH COMES WITHIN 5 MINUTES. AN HOUR LATER THAT PERSON IS SAFE & GETTING THE SUPPORT THEY NEED. ____ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: SOME FOLKS ARE SLEEPING ON BENCHES IN THE PARK. IMAGINE… …A CITY EMPLOYEE COMES BY & CHECKS IN TO SEE IF THEY NEED A PLACE TO SLEEP, FOOD, WATER, OR HEALTH CARE. AN HOUR LATER, THOSE WHO WANT A DIFFERENT PLACE TO SLEEP HAVE ONE. _____ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS & AFRAID IMAGINE… ..YOU CALL +311 & A FIRST RESPONDER TRAINED IN MENTAL HEALTH COMES TO YOUR DOOR. 1 HOUR LATER, YOU ARE IN A SAFE PLACE WITH YOUR CONSENT, WITH PLANS FOR FOLLOW UP CARE. _____ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: YOU DON’T REALIZE, BUT YOUR BRAKE LIGHTS AREN’T WORKING. IMAGINE… … A CITY EMPLOYEE SIGNALS FOR YOU TO PULL OVER & SAYS, “HEY – HOW ABOUT I REPLACE THOSE LIGHTS FOR YOU RIGHT HERE SO NO ONE GETS HURT?” AN HOUR LATER, BOTH LIGHTS WORK & YOU’RE AT HOME. ______ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: YOU ARE EXPERIENCING INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE. IMAGINE… …TEXTING A NUMBER & A TRAUMA INFORMED CRISIS INTERVENTION SPECIALIST MEETS YOU IN A SAFE PLACE. AN HOUR LATER YOU ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE A PLAN THAT WILL KEEP YOU SAFE LONG TERM. ____ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: YOUR FRIENDS ARE INTOXICATED & FIGHTING BUT YOU DON’T WANT THEM TO GET IN TROUBLE. IMAGINE… …YOU CALL +311 AND A CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM COMES TO YOUR DOOR. 1 HOUR LATER, YOUR FRIENDS ARE SLEEPING IT OFF AT HOME. ____ isn’t that public safety?]
[image of text: SOMEONE SEEMS TO BE SNOOPING IN CAR WINDOWS IN YOUR BLOCK. IMAGINE… …CALLING YOUR NEIGHBORS WHO ARE TRAINED IN SELF-DEFENSE & DEESCALATION & APPROACHING THE PERSON. AN HOUR LATER THE CONFLICT IS RESOLVED & THE PERSON RESPONSIBLE IS GETTING THE SUPPORT THEY NEED. ____ isn’t that public safety?]