There is a movement happening in the rest of the country to defund police departments. The movement seems to be gaining ground in El Paso because there are supposed to be two protests about that possibility, one in favor and one against. Those protests are scheduled to happen at virtually the same time in the same place in downtown El Paso.

A flyer for a defund the police protest began circulating on social media a couple of days ago. Another flyer released by Bethany Hatch, the organizer of the anti-defund the police protest and a candidate for El Paso’s senate seat, also began making the social media rounds. Both flyers say their protests are going to be held at Cleveland Square near the ballpark around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

So what is defunding the police? There are some people who want to completely disband police forces, but others want to reduce police budgets by putting some of their funding into other programs like education, health care and housing.

Hatch said she organized the anti-defund the police protest because if there are problems there are different ways to deal with them, but “defunding isn’t the right conversation."

In my opinion, the relationship between law enforcement and El Pasoans has generally been a good one. We don’t see the kind of reported police brutality that other cities see, and we are a safe city. I don’t think disbanding our law enforcement is the answer. I do believe that some of the responsibilities they have been given over the years should be shifted to other agencies. I also don’t believe that if there is a so-called “defunding” of police that you would call 9-1-1 and get told you’re on your own or they’ll send out a counselor. If other agencies were equipped to handle calls for mental health issues or homeless issues, among others, then officers could help by being there is there is a problem, but the lead could be taken by agencies more equipped to handle non-law enforcement issues.

Police have enough on their hands. Fund the programs for mental health issues, homeless population issues, etc., and let the police do law enforcement work.

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