Guy Farmer: Don’t defund the police, defend the police

I can't think of a more idiotic, or more dangerous, idea than defunding the police, as some far left and very "woke" city officials and politicians are trying to do. My message to them is: Don't defund the police; defend the police and correct their acknowledged shortcomings.
Let's face it, the police aren't perfect, and neither are the people they protect and serve. There are bad apples in every barrel whether we're talking about police officers, city officials or journalists. Of course bad apples should be weeded-out and fired or, in the case of rogue police officers like former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, they should be tried and convicted if they violate laws they're sworn to uphold.
But while mainstream media focus on rogue cops and police misconduct, we should thank the 99-plus percent of responsible, law-abiding police officers who keep us safe in our communities. Although the mainstream media like to show us footage of white cops shooting black people, we should remember that 99-plus percent of black shooting victims are shot by other black people, but you won't see those shootings on the nightly news, thereby fanning the flames of racial strife.
Unsurprisingly, "progressive" cities like San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, Oregon, and my old hometown, Seattle, that are slashing police budgets and de-criminalizing crime are suffering surges in murders and other violent crimes. In Portland, for example, there were more than 100 consecutive nights of anarchy and violence last summer even though the mainstream media described those violent demonstrations as "mostly peaceful." Please!
Portland's "progressive" Mayor Ted Wheeler finally realized that less policing results in more violent crime, and last week finally denounced "self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction, and want to burn, bash and intimidate." "Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them," he added. But that won't happen in cities like Portland, San Francisco, Chicago (America's murder capital), and Los Angeles, where "woke" prosecutors refuse to prosecute criminals.
Fortunately, here in Carson, we have a sheriff who believes in effective community policing and a district attorney who prosecutes criminals. Sheriff Ken Furlong told me last week that "jails and emergency rooms aren't always the answer" to lowering crime rates. "We have long been in the practice of de-escalation, diversion and other alternative justice mechanisms," like drug and mental health courts.
Last year, he continued, Carsonites made more than 167,000 "911" calls, but only slightly more than 2,500 of them resulted in arrests because of other alternatives like the Mallory Center for mental health cases.
"We're fortunate to have compassionate leaders who believe people can make mistakes in life, and recover," the sheriff told me, and I agree that police should seek to de-escalate potentially violent situations before reaching for their guns. On the other side of that equation, however, I believe gun control is really a mental health issue -- "crazy people with guns," as I've written many times.
Republican PK O'Neill, our District 40 Assemblyman, who was a career law enforcement professional before being elected to the Legislature, opposes several bills introduced by liberal Democrats that would make policing more difficult. In an email interview, he mentioned AB396, "a horrible bill relating to use of force by police officers… that will cost lives." He said it relates to "split-second decisions" by police officers who are trying to save lives in emergency situations.
Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan recently wrote that "we aren't being sufficiently sensitive" to good police officers, who are too often "accused of reflexive brutality and racism. …Good cops need more respect and gratitude." Amen!
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal's senior political columnist.


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