Last night, I read a brand new study on American policing and it has one stat that I think is the single most important stat of the year in American policing. I need you to learn it. I think it's so big that it will become a household stat that all of us who want serious change will memorize and quote from this point forward.
Cities across the country are defunding police departments in all types of ways. For some, they are cutting ties between local police departments and public schools and instead reinvesting those funds into guidance counselors and social workers. For others, they are slashing funds allocated to police in the city budget and instead reinvesting into urban development programs. One question continues to arise when it comes to defunding the police: who will respond to violent crimes?
In its most simple form, police are supposed to stop crimes and catch those that commit them. The well-known character portrayal of a police officer in movies and tv shows is that of grizzled 30-something white man who spends several sleepless night chugging black coffee and staring at pictures of murder suspects until he suddenly realizes exactly what happened with little-to-no actual evidence. Fictional police make for good plotlines. The only problem is that this could not be further from what police actually do.
A recent study by New Orleans-based crime analysts Jeff Asher and Benjamin Horwitz reveals shocking statistics that completely shatter the idea many Americans have of what police officers do on a daily basis.
The study analyzed data to see what type of calls are made to the police through emergency dispatchers, police radio, and 911 calls. It found that only 4 percent of calls police receive and respond to are violent crimes. The remaining 96 percent is everything else.
The police respond to traffic calls, such as Philando Castile, who was pulled over at a traffic stop and murdered when police shot him multiple times through his window. They also respond to mental health calls, such as Steven Taylor, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis in a Walmart when police murdered him.
These are the majority of incidents police –armed with guns, tasers, and batons– are being dispatched to. These are the incidents that could, and should, be handled by first responders trained in those fields. This is why we need to defund the police, so that the funds can be invested back into the community and people can get the help police officers are simply not equipped to provide them with.
In today’s episode, Shaun breaks down this study and why it may reveal the most important statistic on American policing of all time.