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Q: Should Money Be Diverted From Law Enforcement to Social Services?

yes

“Money should be diverted from law enforcement to social services because the police cannot provide services to all issues related to the public's safety. The funds should be redirected to professions in handling matters in a society like mental health, drug abuse, and homelessness. There is still insecurity and conflict in our society despite police being allocated billions of funds. Thus, the government should divert social services resources to sustain the communities and create a healthy and safe environment because each person has a right to live in harmony. Instances like opioid addiction and other drug use amongst the people, more so the youths, can be mitigated if more money is invested in such service. Youth and community development, health care facilities, and schools, particularly in poor communities, need funds to invest in themselves and grow as a society instead of spending $100 billion on policing yearly. When resources are diverted to social services, community members can keep each other safe by working together. Health care workers will have the resources to attend to emergencies and work directly with the affected person. People of color will have a voice and live a fear-free life when funds are allocated to social services. The police will not be the only option for a problem or emergency. Justice will prevail to the black color as they can have education and get employed. By allocating funds to social services, the police and community will work together, thus strengthening their trust. Police will be able to handle members of the society more reasonably and listening to them before undertaking any action. This will reduce the number of police murders. In conclusion, the government should invest more in the communities and not law enforcement to strengthen society and support community members' well-being. This will result in a peaceful and developed society. ~Work Cited~ Barry, Colleen L. "Fentanyl and the evolving opioid epidemic: what strategies should policymakers consider?." Psychiatric Services 69.1 (2018): 100-103.”

Hudson from Montana

no

“Defunding the police and reforming it do not go very well together. Any kind of reform that would result in a better and more just police force requires funding, so the choices are either "defunding" them or training police officers more (including diversity training), identifying potential biases among the workers, ensuring fair trials and investigations into police brutality cases, and overall improving police in the United States. All of the above changes require the allocation of more, not less, resources to the local police departments. There is not much money to divert in the first place - the US annually spends only about $340 per person (https://usafacts.org/articles/police-departments-explained/). Decreasing this amount will not benefit anyone. In addition, social workers are just not trained to deal with potentially dangerous situations. Today, even though social workers do not do the police’s jobs, they still often face abuse or even death in their workplace (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/18/social-workers-job-dangers-fears). Putting them in even more dangerous situations would not only threaten their own safety, but also the safety of entire communities due to the inability to bring criminals to justice. Instead, social workers and services should work alongside the police forces, not in place of them. Additional social programs should be funded, but that funding should not be taken out of police. There is a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy, corporate bailouts, inefficient policies, and an overinflated defense budget. All that money could instead be used to fund healthcare that would be more efficient than the current Medicare and Medicaid programs, education (including possibly post-secondary education), and other similar initiatives. These would help root out one of the main causes of police brutality - crime. Many police brutality cases happen due to increased crime rates in certain communities which subsequently lead to confrontations with law enforcement. Crime has been shown to be largely linked to poverty (https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5137) and single motherhood (https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/the-real-complex-connection-between-single-parent-families-and-crime/265860/), both of which would decrease if social programs were properly funded. We have a long way to go, and forcefully defunding law enforcement is just combating a symptom of the disease - police would naturally play a smaller role in American communities if crime rates were to decrease.”

Artem from Illinois

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– President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961