Call/text: (617) 682-9697 | e: [email protected] | f: 617-391-3067
Should the police be defunded?

Should the police be defunded?


Abolish or defund the police — explained

What Defund the Police Really Means 

Defund the Policy: Here’s what it really means


Incremental Change is a Moral Failure

How cities with violent crime can tackle it without the police

We must challenge militarism in efforts to defund the police

Defunding the police would benefit policing

We train police to be warriors and send them out to be social workers 

We cannot have the police viewing the people as the enemy

Disaggregating the policing function (April). Policing imposes serious and extensive harm, from shootings and nonlethal uses of force, to stops, searches, arrests, and incarceration. All of this comes with pervasive racial disparities. Scholars and advocates tend to see these harms as collateral to policing, and seek to address them with “harm.regulating” tools such as civil rights suits, prosecution of police officers, elimination of qualified immunity, more Department of Justice investigations, civilian review boards, and the like. Harm-regulation techniques are unlikely to be successful, however, as we see all too well in practice. Harm is not collateral to policing, it is innate to it. We call police crimefighters, we train them in using force and enforcing the law, and we deploy them to do this. So, it should come as no surprise that what we get is force, and law enforcement. And that this approach does little to address the sorts of social problems—from homelessness to substance abuse to mental illness—that police confront every day. This Article take an entirely different approach to the harms of policing, looking to the very core of the policing function itself. It disaggregates what police officers are called upon to do daily into their constituent functions, asking in each instance: are force and law the appropriate responses, and if not, what are? Crimefighting actually is a very small part of what police do every day, and their actual work requires an entirely different range of skills, among them: mediation skills to address conflict, social work skills to get people the long-term solutions they need, interviewing and investigative skills to really solve crimes, and victim assistance. Yet, police are barely trained in any of this, so, it is no surprise harm is the result. This Article suggests a range of solutions designed not to reduce harm collaterally, but to reduce altogether the footprint of force and law. Police need to be trained in radically different ways. We either need to change fundamentally the nature of the policing agency workforce, or move police to the background, bringing in other agencies of government to address the actually problems police face on a day-to-day basis. It proposes a totally novel idea for generalist first responders. And it argues that we must reduce criminalization. In short, to reduce the harms of policing, we need to reimagine public safety from the ground up,

Baltimore tried reforming the police. They fought  every change.

Defund  the police? Other countries have narrowed their roles and boosted other services

The militarized policing they don’t want you to see

Defund the Police Now

Militarized policing doesn’t reduce crime and disproportionately hits minority communities


Defund the police requires understanding the role police play in our society

Be wary of defunding the police without building bridges 

Police need more resources not fewer resources to compel reform

Protests focus on overpolicing, but under policing is also an issue

Instead of “defund” the police, imagine a broader role for them in public health reform

How the U.S. could reform police in response to protests against brutality and racism

Defunding the police a “bourgeos liberal” solution to a much deeper problem