Underfunded And Undervalued: It’s Time To Reinvest In Police Departments
Police departments put their lives at risk every day to protect the citizens of cities and communities, and without them, things could get very bleak. It’s difficult to imagine towns without police forces, but a lack of funding, coupled with cuts and job shortages, means that this situation is a very real prospect. Officers need the right investment to carry out their jobs safely, but is this possible when cuts keep getting put in place?
A lack of funding for police departments poses a serious risk to communities, so what can be done to help them continue their vital role and keep neighborhoods safe?
The town without police
The thought of a town without police is an almost unbelievable prospect. But for the people of Blandford, Massachusetts, this is exactly what came to pass after the town’s entire police force resigned. Officers blamed low pay and unsafe conditions as key reasons for officers who could no longer put their lives on the line for their community.
Among the issues cited included dated squad cars that were no longer fit for purpose, ill-fitting bulletproof vests, and of course, understaffing. With officers feeling they could no longer carry out their jobs safely, they decided to take action.
Blandford has since recruited a new police chief as it looks towards its future.
The effects of underfunding on forces
There are some serious lessons that can be learned from Blandford, and with similar situations being observed in towns all over the country, there needs to be a solution for what is a growing problem.
Dolton, a Chicago suburb, is another example of what happens when police departments don’t have enough money. A lack of training can lead to consequences like officer and civilian shootings, as well as other unacceptable behavior. Officers require better training and more regulation to ensure they carry out their roles effectively, but how can that happen if the money isn’t there?
More funding and better use of resources
Investing in staff is one of the key actions that need to be taken to restore faith in police departments. By using alternative, more affordable suppliers for police lights and other vital safety equipment, more money could be freed up to improve staff wages and provide much-needed training and support. Cutting costs and investing budgets where they are needed is important for departments to be able to give officers the support they need, allowing them to best serve their community.
Becoming a police officer is a childhood dream for many young kids, but unless something changes soon, the reality is going to lead to far fewer people choosing this career path. Investing in officers can help make the job a respected one once again and restore some of the faith that has been lost over the years.
Police departments remain an important part of communities, but without the right funding, more and more towns could soon realize the realities of a town without a force.