Congressman Smith Capitol Report: Defunding Our Safety
For nearly a week, radical individuals who prioritized looting and chaos in this country over any type of actual change diminished the voices of those protesting the tragic death of George Floyd. Worse, the Left refuses to call out the violence and destruction. Perhaps it’s because they are focused on using the unrest to push their liberal agenda regardless of the facts. They are blaming all law enforcement officers across the country for what’s happening and calling for all police departments to be defunded. Their new “defund the police” slogan is just as absurd as their calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) two years ago. Once again, the Left demonstrates a sever lack of understanding for what American cities would look like without police officers.
Police officers enforce the law and ensure order. As President Reagan said, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." It’s our brave men and women in law enforcement that serve as the thin blue line separating order from chaos. Defunding the police—removing that thin blue line that protects our families and communities—would be disastrous. Existing evidence is irrefutable.
Just this week, in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Pastor Darrell Scott testified how major cuts to the Cleveland Police Department have deeply harmed the city. In 2004, Cleveland slashed the budget for its police force by 31% and laid off hundreds of officers. This led to an increase in crime and massive cuts in services for vulnerable communities. Emergency response times skyrocketed. Pastor Scott noted that, “Cleveland went from a relatively safe city, per capita, to an unbelievably unsafe city…Once “safe” areas of the city are now unsafe. Homicides are UP 55% in Cleveland from this time last year, and Cleveland now has a higher murder rate (per 100,000 residents) than Chicago.” These are not the outcomes we want to see in cities across America, yet that is exactly where local governments overrun by the liberal mob are intent on taking this country.
In Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd took place, this shortsighted policy will soon be in action. Nine of the thirteen members of the Minneapolis City Council support defunding the police, a veto-proof majority. When asked in an interview with CNN, “What if in the middle of the night, my home is broken into? Who do I call?” the President of the City Council, Lisa Bender, replied “Yes, I mean, I hear that loud and clear from a lot of my neighbors, and myself, too, and I know that that comes from a place of privilege.” Calling the police is a place of privilege? Wanting our communities to be safe is not a privilege, it’s a right baked into our founding documents. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness cannot coexist with anarchy, violence, and destruction. This radical ideology threatens the continuation of our democratic republic.
Defunding the police will make our communities more dangerous. So far this year, law enforcement has helped remove over 101 tons of illicit drugs from our streets and communities. Yet, liberal lawmakers still are determined on blaming everything on our law enforcement officers to distract the public from their years of failed policies and extreme government spending. Two years ago, the Left was obsessed with targeting ICE officers, who protect our border from illicit drugs and violent criminals including transnational gangs and terrorists. Today, the Left is obsessed with abolishing the brave men and women of our local police departments who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe from crime and uphold the law. We cannot allow them to win this debate. The Left’s vision for America undermines the safety and security of our families.
We are a nation of laws, we are a nation of order, and we are a nation of the thin blue line. Those are all things worth protecting.