Cops Jun 8, 2020 at 11:05 am

What if Seattle went even further?



There is a lot missing from this article. Far too much to put in a comment here to put into context how much Seattle is nothing like Camden, NJ.

Camden, NJ is almost entirely non-white (only 5.2% of the population is white).
Camden, NJ is the poorest city in the nation.

Have they had success since firing their entire police department and starting over from scratch? Yes. Would that work in wealthy, mostly white city where white people are heavily invested in protecting their property over protecting black and brown lives? Doubtful.


Good post, Matt. We need to look around at functioning alternatives. Good job.


I believe your post title a bit disingenuous. To be sure, you did clarify your text but the title suggests otherwise.

Disbanding a police force without a credible alternative would be most foolish. Civilized societies must have law enforcement. Sure, improvement is needed. And there are a few rogue cops. But as an aggregate, the police are not our enemy thus, I am not convinced in defunding or disbanding.

After I read your piece, I read this via today's RealClearPolitics:

18 people murdered in a 24 hour span?! That is shocking by any standard! Over a 3 day period, 85 persons were shot! Evidently many patrol personnel were busy with Chicago's protests. The neighborhoods suffered as a result. These communities depend on the police to serve and protect. And, to eventually bring the perpetrators to justice. We need the police. Now more than ever.


Police departments (including Minneapolis) have been emphasizing de-escalation and setting policies against choke holds for years and fat lot of good it did George Floyd. The problem is a lack of accountability for individual officers - Derek Chauvin had a long record of complaints but he kept his job because the accountability system in place can't actually produce any discipline.

So maybe Camden got their results from finding a way to fire all the thuggish officers and start fresh. If that's the case, then maybe their new groovy county force will be all thugged up again in another generation and they'll have to do it again. But the struggle never ends.


In the whole recent process of police reform and the consent decree in Seattle, the biggest obstacle to reform was the police union. They've fought every attempt at reform or any police accountability. That's why you end up with drastic responses like Camden. They didn't eliminate policing entirely. But by shitcanning the whole police department and forcing them all to reaply, they gutted the union's power to block any reforms. And they got the opportunity to dump obviously bad cops they couldn't get rid of under previous union contracts.

The Minneapolis City Council is now talking about essentially doing the same thing. Minneapolis is a bit smaller than Seattle, but it isn't some tiny podunk town. Like Seattle, they have a fairly small black population per capita. While I don't think we can eliminate policing entirely, I see no reason we couldn't dump our current police force and restructure the whole thing from the ground up. The Seattle PD is fundamentally broken, and cannot be reformed with SPOG fighting every step of the way.


Actually, I was just there with my family, we drove through on our way to burying my mom in the oldest cemetery in New Jersey.

Seemed like a nice place.


You need a "heavily armed" officer to respond to broken taillights because everyone knows that pulling over cars with broken taillights, cracked windshields etc. is how you get to find a reason to search them for drugs. Or find the driver who's wanted for something unrelated to the reason for the stop. Crappy old cars are called "warrantmobiles" for a reason.


No, it's cause the cops break the taillights, slit the tires, and make it so they can bring in traffic revenue.


Defund the Billionaires.

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