Julia (Furukawa), thanks for your June 14 article on what defunding the police could mean, which I read with interest. I am a strong supporter of our police department and all law enforcement. That is, until they overstep their actions, as in the case of the death of a man using wrong methods of arrest.
You made several good thoughts as you included all the areas in which the police must operate without sufficient training in many of their fields of everyday community contact with the public.
It might be time for the city or the police chief to call for input into development of a plan of action to make needed changes in his budget to include social areas of training. I certainly see nothing wrong in considering using some existing funds from his budget to prepare his police for that type of work. In fact, there may be several officers who would volunteer to become specialized with training into several of those areas of need you identified.
They have a very tough job to do as they address the lives of citizens with multiple needs. If there were specialized officers to be called into action during family violence situations, mental health issues, marriage conflict resolution, sexual and child safety handling, this might free more officers to handle those situations of traffic, vehicular accidents, theft and drugs. Those officers could then receive additional training, if needed or identified by the chief, into those areas of need.
Let us work to make our police department a shining star example of what a community can do to address our needs in a most effective manner — with compassion, commitment and concern for all citizens, equally.