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What 'defunding' police departments could actually do, experts weigh in

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 12:27:58-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — Many across the nation are calling for change in the form of defunding police departments.

To understand what defunding a department could mean, 25 News sought advice from local criminal justice expert, Tammy Bracewell Ph.D.

Click here to take a look at what your local police department's budget looks like

“The central idea behind it is not all bad - the central idea behind it is to move some of those social services the police were never meant to respond to anyway, “ said Bracewell.

As a master peace officer with decades of experience, Bracewell now acts as a professor at Texas A&M Central Texas.

“We have shortages of police officers across the country, we simply just don’t have enough officers to respond to what they need to,“ explained Bracewell.

He said that defunding departments could worsen already existing problems.

“They’re already strapped for people and time, and they cannot respond to the calls of service they already get. For example, that’s why you have the backlog in investigation, that’s why sexual assault investigation may take years,“ said Bracewell.

The push for defunding could be interpreted instead as the investment into social workers of cities.

Bracewell said that officers are often called to situations that social workers may be better suited for.

“But at the same time we also need, and police officers would likely agree, with this is that, they are not social workers, but they’re frequently asked to respond in that capacity,“ said Bracewell.

Bracewell explained police are an integral piece of society and respond to circumstances in which others don't - like car accidents, homicide & assault investigations, or robberies.

He said that most public services are underfunded and further removing funding could impact training available for the officers.