TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The defund the police department movement has hit Tucson as it has many other cities in the country following the death of George Floyd two weeks ago at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The Tucson City Council will discuss the issue at it’s scheduled study session meeting on June 9, 2020.
The defund movement does not mean the police department will be disbanded, but that it will be repurposed.
“Ii certainly wouldn’t outright defund the police department,” said Dr. Randy Friese, a state lawmaker in District 9. “I do agree with thinking outside the box.”
Police departments could become more focused on social issues like mental health, housing and conflict resolution.
“To pay attention to all of those issues that will help lift people up instead of detaining people and putting them behind bars,” said District 3 Representative Andres Cano. “That’s what we mean when we’re talking about defunding the police.”
The concern among the Democrats is that the police have become too militarized.
“Let’s get back to police officers protecting and serving the community and not oppressing the community,” Dr. Friese said.
Nearly a dozen Democratic lawmakers have proposed a five point plan for police reform which they’re hoping will be debated and passed in some form during a special summer session.
The reforms would include body cameras for all officers, abolishing choke holds, insuring officers have de-escalation training and being able to hold bad actors to account.
It is loosely based on #8cantwait, a consortium of ideas which are said to reduce police violence.
The website can be found here. https://8cantwait.org/
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus is a proponent of community policing. His department, as well as San Francisco, are the only two large cities which meet all eight points.
“I think this is the time where there’s going to some real changes made in a number of police departments around the country,” he said. “And perhaps in the entire institution of policing.”