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Emails & Opinions

Alex Andrade: ‘Defunding the police’ has no basis in reality

Taking money from law enforcement to give to community programs won’t keep us safe.

As the organization “Black Lives Matter” calls to “abolish” and “defund the police” and liberal Democrats continue to echo that call leading up to this November’s presidential election, Americans have a choice to make. President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden could not have more distinct responses to these calls.

They reflect, intrinsically, a realistic and unrealistic view of crime in America.

Democrats argue that citizens are capable of holding one another accountable and creating a “community culture” of policing. But these same Democrats govern 90% of the cities with the highest rates of violence over the past few months, and have experienced increases in murder rates from June of 2019 until present.

Despite these numbers, the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force stated: “Democrats know we can end the era of mass incarceration and dramatically reduce the number of Americans held in jails and prison while continuing to reduce crime rates, which have fallen steadily from their peak nearly three decades ago.”

Democrats cannot ignore the hundreds of murders and violent crimes in their cities as they continue to increase. Joe Biden has demanded hundreds of millions in tax dollars meant to address problems he blames on police activity and says he wants to reduce police presence in our daily lives.

The truth is that every local government body is suffering under the stress of the COVID pandemic. Taking money from law enforcement to give to community programs won’t keep us safe.

As the Democratic National Convention approaches on August 14, the Milwaukee Police Department and 100 law enforcement agencies announced they would not secure the event. This comes after the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission directed the Milwaukee Police Chief to restrict the ways they can deter violent protesters. Without these deterrents to violent activity, law enforcement agencies around the country are left wondering how to prevent the violent riots that have destroyed small businesses and injured and killed American citizens. The decision of the Milwaukee Police Department to not secure the Democrat National Convention deals an embarrassing blow to the “defund the police” argument. The Democrat party had requested 1000 Milwaukee police officers to protect an event they anticipated would have only 300 people in attendance. If police were unnecessary, why would the Democrat Party request 3 officers for every event attendee?

In contrast, police unions are lining up in droves to support Trump, who remains firm in his commitments to law enforcement. In his endorsement of Trump, the International Union of Police Association’s President Sam Cabral praised the President’s executive orders that equip police with lifesaving equipment and provide funds to hire more law enforcement officers.

In June, Trump issued the Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities mandating that state and local law enforcement agencies assess and improve their standard operating procedures to ensure transparent, safe, and accountable law enforcement in communities.

Trump also directed Attorney General Bill Barr to certify credentialing bodies that address topics such as early intervention, de-escalation techniques, and best practices with community engagement.

The President’s continued support of law enforcement is a model that an overwhelming percentage of Americans support. The Democrat Party’s calls to defund police during a deadly global pandemic and increasing violence in Democrat-controlled cities underline just how out of touch they are with American voters.

Trump’s approach to improving policing and supporting law enforcement is in line with what Americans want and need during these difficult times. Americans need to know a police officer will answer our calls to protect our lives and our property.

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Rep. Alex Andrade of Pensacola represents Florida House District 2. He is an attorney in Pensacola.

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