When I first heard “Defund the Police,” I laughed because that’s never going to happen, but the more that I thought about the phrase, the more that I started to wonder where all that extra money could go, and the more research I did, the more that I found others agreed with me, and have been agreeing with me for almost a hundred years.

Here’s what it looks like when an entire community has more money in the police budget than they do in other areas of the neighborhood, in comparison to when communities are equally funded, and I’ll break it down further, below these pictures.

In a fully-funded community, money would be divided equally between the following areas:

  • Education
  • Hospitals
  • Community Centers
  • Libraries
  • Infastructure (bridges and roads, etc.)
  • Community Mental Health Supports and Support Workers

There are so many different areas of the communities that need to be addressed, but when we put all our focus on policing we often end up with armies of white men with access to weapons they often use as a release for their emotional issues.

Unfortunately, we’re entering an area of time when humans are more in touch with their emotions than ever before, and not all of us know how to control the overwhelming amount of sensations that we’re all experiencing, and we don’t always have the words to describe what it is so that we can advocate for ourselves and others, to get the help required.

So we end up with a lot of sick and injured mentally and emotionally people, who take these issues out on others, resulting in police being called, and people dying in the streets in situations that could have been solved so much differently if cops had the kind of training I do.

I remember doing some stuff that required I to use my skills of calm and patience to help a situation that could have ended violently, and because I’ve stopped being on the front lines of the houselessness and opioid epidemic, I haven’t had time to use those skills in awhile so hear me out as I delve into the next part of my argument for defunding the police.

We’re not talking about cutting all of those jobs and giving these people who work in the police nothing to do. We’re asking them to use their skills differently, learning to use their reductive skills more intellectually instead of reactively.

We’re asking them to put down their guns, and learn how to connect to the community in other ways, by going to the library, reading to kids, helping with after-school programs, and helping out at the food bank. All the stuff that a good cop should want to be doing anyway.

When I worked at the church we had more than a few cops who were on the force who didn’t have guns that worked in the Community Policing program. They came to the church at least once a week, they knew people’s names, they knew where they lived or didn’t live, and they didn’t care how much money people had or what the color of their skin was. These cops were some of the kindest men I’ve ever known.

That program ended without ever there is a single event of violence at the church I worked at while my mom and I were there. Several years later, 2 men were shot inside, and it’s not because the people who work at the church don’t know what they are doing, it’s because they don’t have the same supports we did when we worked there.

The people who are living houseless now do not have access to the services they once did. Another thing that could come from defunding the police, even just a little bit, would be more free dental and medical care for people who can’t afford things like insulin, and other life-saving medications.

We could have more books in the library that represent how diverse and intellectually stimulated our communities are, and the libraries could afford to host more free events so you can learn who your neighbors are, thus making you feel and they feel more comfortable and safe.

His and Her stories have proven that when communities are taken care of when people don’t feel like they have to beg for the basic human rights that all humans are legally required to have, societies flourish, but when you take away the basics and fill the holes with police while calling the murder of innocent Black and Brown folk justice, societies fall.

All empires fall, but I’d rather our empire fall with as many of us saying that we at least tried to save our society then sat back and watched it fall without doing anything, as possible.

We’re not asking for much in all reality, but it’s pretty mindnumbing to know that I now have to be afraid of the police thinking that I’m on drugs, instead of understanding that I’m overwhelmed and breaking down. Properly trained police officers wouldn’t have to draw their guns as much, and while I know there are many racist cops out there, I have to believe, or at least hope that there are still some good eggs in the mix. Because otherwise literally there’s no point in fighting.

I would like to see more parks in Surrey – a city mind you that calls itself the City of Parks and fewer empty lots. I’d like to see more community gardens and fewer guns. I’d like to see more people walking their children around, but our community doesn’t often feel safe to do that, and so many kids spend their time inside.

I live in the heart of Surrey in a place called Whalley and there is not a single water park here. We’re considered the center of Surrey and yet there are very few places for kids to go and play, that aren’t baseball fields, or school lots. Most kids here are stuck in apartment buildings or houses playing video games and when they are outside, it’s often only at school.

Kids need places to play they need to be loud and to burn off energy, but the only time I hear kids in this neighborhood is before and after school, and they rarely look like they’re having fun. Hospitals need help too.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic and doctors and nurses across Canada are now being told not to look like doctors and nurses outside so as not to anger the white supremacists taking over our country.

Dancing and singing used to be something that people loved to do, but in Surrey, there is no place to go dancing, no place to hang out and laugh with friends and grab a beer that isn’t a fancy wear-a-tie kind of place. People need these places to let loose, to relax, to enjoy spending time together without the confines of a computer between them.

When we lose our connection to our communities, we lose our connection to ourselves, and it’s okay to branch out and meet people and learn who they are without being afraid that everyone is going to hurt you but my fear is that if we don’t start bonding with our neighbors soon, we’re going to lose our chance all together.

Something to think about isn’t it?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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