For years, grassroots activists have called for divesting in the police, and the ACLU of Pennsylvania is adding our voice to their effort. Time and time again, we have witnessed communities calling for police reform and accountability. And time and time again, we have seen our public officials fall short on delivering their promise for a more transparent, just, and trusted partnership between police and the people they serve. Led by the Movement for Black Lives and local Black-led partners, divesting in police means reinvesting in communities that have been targeted by law enforcement. And it means an end to enforcement of petty, low-level offenses, ending unnecessary interactions between police and the people.
Divesting in the police is not a call for police abolition – it is a call to shrink the scope of police responsibilities. Police wear too many hats within our communities, and some of their responsibilities should be shifted to entities better equipped to tackle the respective need. Communities need more crime prevention programs and resources rather than punitive responses after crime occurs. We can reallocate a large portion of police funds to mental health services, housing, education, and violence interruption programs. With fewer jobs to do, police can do their jobs better, and Black and Brown communities can receive attention in the areas that have been traditionally neglected.
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