Defunding the police idea is a real threat

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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As protests over the killing of George Floyd have progressed, a demand to “defund the police” has become more and more prevalent. Some Democratic politicians, such as the mayor of Minneapolis, have agreed and begun to disband their police departments.

Defunding the police is a real threat to communities across our nation as Democrat lawmakers begin to embrace this position. They also like to talk about “reform” which would give some government agency the authority to look over the shoulder of police departments to find some reason to deny funding. Therefore, there is no difference in reforming and defunding – just another way Democrats try to trick citizens into following their agenda.

Speaking Thursday, Gov. Ralph Northam did his best to dodge the question, instead re-framing it as “dismantling the police.” Naturally, the governor said he opposes “dismantling” the police. But when it came to the real question of resources and their allocation, he hedged significantly.

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“When we talk about defunding, I wouldn’t look at it as defunding. I would look at it as how do we best prioritize the funding that we have,” Northam said. He then proceeded to talk about all the ways that money traditionally spent on law enforcement could be moved to other programs. The governor’s chief of staff later told reporters that the governor didn’t mean what he had just said, but other Democrats had already picked up the call.

The chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said it is not a phrase he would use, but that as social priorities change, it’s natural that spending priorities would also change.

At the end of the day, Democrats are responding to protestors by giving them what they think will make them happy — simple actions that will not actually solve problems for minority communities.

“Defunding the police” would mean more victims of violent crime in lower- and middle-income neighborhoods, as wealthier areas retreat behind gates and hire private security.

Just as taking down monuments is designed to distract people from the real problems in our community, “defunding the police” is a simple idea that will not actually help anything.

Republicans recognize that the vast majority of our law enforcement officers are hard-working people who simply want to protect and serve their communities. While no organization is perfect, those in support of this reform want to empower community members to handle the job of the police. How a community member can help during an armed burglary or rape is incomprehensible.

House Republicans continue to discuss ways to make policing better and more responsive to our communities and will not sit idly by while Democrats strip needed resources away from police.

Often key barriers to reforming police departments, education systems and other government agencies are unions. These unions, including police unions, were illegal in Virginia until legalized by Virginia Democrats. They become legal on May 1, 2021 under Democrat Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s House Bill 582, that I voted against. This legislation hinders reform involving government employees represented by unions.

I will continue to do all I can to make sure our law enforcement professionals have the resources and support they need to do their job. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are upstanding citizens and risk their lives every day to provide protection and safety to our communities and its citizens.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.