Dr. Erroll Southers writes in USA Today about calls to defund police departments in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While removing police funding is intended to redirect investments into the community, it could also lead to the elimination of programs that engage police and communities to create a better future police force.

Change is coming to American law enforcement. The protests across the country decrying police brutality, particularly in the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, have catalyzed a movement to address police use of force and systemic racism. In little more than a week, the House of Representatives has proposed a Justice in Policing Act, New York is poised to enact laws intended to reshape law enforcement, and Minnesota has launched a civil rights investigation into its police department’s actions. Across the country, city leaders and citizens are having conversations on what police reform looks like. This is clear evidence that peaceful protest can deliver real change.

Amid this progress, there are growing calls to “defund police.” While defunding is intended to force changes in police practices and redirect funds to community development, there is also an underlying element of retribution. The American public wants overdue adjudication for all the people killed, injured, abused and insulted by police, and seizing funding from departments has a certain appeal when we are as angry as we are today.

Read the full article at USA Today.