Defunding police not the answer

Congressman Daniel Webster

Many among the far left, including Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and others, are calling on state and local government to “Defund the Police.” This is not a realistic or constructive response. We are a nation of laws and our police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their communities. As I have said before, we must ensure law enforcement officers receive proper training and law enforcement policies require the utmost performance, transparency and accountability. The vast majority of the brave men and women in law enforcement that serve our communities are selfless servants that work tirelessly to protect us and our families from evil and ensure that our laws are upheld. I thank these law enforcement officers who wear the badge for the right reasons and work tirelessly to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe, protect the vulnerable, mentor youth, and render aid to those in need.

Make no mistake, there are officers who fail to uphold their oath yet are protected from accountability or dismissal. This recently happened in our own state, where the Broward Police Union successfully challenged the firing of the Broward sergeant who failed to fulfill his duty to act to protect the students of Stoneman Douglas High School. As we review current policies to ensure law enforcement officers who violate their duties are held accountable, unions and local leaders must also review and reform collective bargaining agreements that protect “bad apples.”

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss law enforcement accountability and police practices. Members of the committee heard moving testimonies from George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, and Angela Underwood Jacobs, whose brother, a law enforcement officer, was killed during recent riots. Thursday, President Trump held a roundtable with law enforcement and community leaders in Texas. He announced four steps his administration was taking and advocating for to improve safety, opportunity and dignity. Learn more about these four steps here. I’m glad to see his steps are not solely focused on police and law enforcement reforms, but also include workforce development, improving access to quality healthcare and one of my longtime passions – school choice.
House Democrats have rushed to file legislation without engaging in any discussions or working with Republicans. In the Senate, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott is taking the lead on drafting legislation. While the bill text is still being developed, he has shared a framework for the proposal. Once bill text is released, as always, I will review language of each carefully before making my vote decision. 

Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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