Mayor of city famed for defunding police says abolishing police is not the solution

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In the latest signal of reform to come from Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd, the city’s police chief announced Wednesday that he would be withdrawing from negotiations with its police union.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey quickly applauded the move saying the city doesn’t just need tweaks to a new policing contract, but needs “to go farther than we ever have in making sweeping structural reform.”

Earlier this week, a majority of Minneapolis city council members announced unity to dismantle their police force but have yet to put forth a plan on what that would look like or what changes would come from the reforms.

As Yahoo Finance recently highlighted, there may be a living example of how to properly disband and reform a police force in Camden, New Jersey — a city that saw a 42% reduction in violent crime and 95% drop in use of force complaints eight years after replacing its unionized city police force with a county community force.

But even Camden Mayor Frank Moran cautioned Minneapolis and other towns weighing calls to completely do away with their police forces as it being too radical of an approach to take.

“I don’t think the solution, to be quite honest with you, is to completely abolish [the police,]” he said, caveating that Camden brought its new county force online as it simultaneously wound down its outgoing force. “Who is going to respond to the 911 call?”

Moran, however, did support the power in starting over with a completely new department. In the case of Camden, which now boasts one of the most progressive policing policies in the country, Moran says getting officers to buy in to the doctrine would not have been possible without getting rid of its old unionized force. By hiring back half those officers and bringing on new recruits at about a 50% reduction in cost per officer, the town nearly doubled the size of its force with a new focus on acting as “guardians” of the community rather than “warriors.”

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