As state and local governments across the country work to enact police reforms in the wake of the George Floyd killing while in Minneapolis police custody last month, one proposal that may actually occur is defunding police departments. In most cases, defunding means moving money away from police departments and using those funds for social programs.
Pennsylvania’s largest police department is the Pennsylvania State Police. The State Police is in a unique position. That’s because many municipalities – about 1,700 of them — rely on State Police for coverage. A lot of those townships and boroughs disbanded their own police departments completely.
The concept of community policing that counts on officers patrolling a regular beat and getting to know the community has been hailed as one way to reduce racial injustice. That would seem to be difficult with State Police covering large geographic areas.
Also, many historians say America had the opportunity to eliminate or greatly reduce racial injustice and inequality when the Civil War ended. However, decisions made by President Andrew Johnson after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln may have led to discrimination, Jim Crow laws and violence against African-Americans and never allowed them to achieve equality.
Joining us on Monday’s Smart Talk is Prof. Matthew Pinsker, Ph.D., Dickinson College, Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History.