John Eligon redefines the “defunding the police” slogan for listeners and specifies what exactly defunding the police should look like in “The Case for Defunding the Police”, an episode of The Daily podcast. Not only does Eligon use examples of situations and perspectives from across the United States, but he also brings the argument for defunding the police down to its core, covering the goals of the slogan and the movement associated with it, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Eligon also discusses the history of police and the BLM movement. As soon as the Black Lives Matter street mural appeared in Washington, the police slogan has grown with immense success in popularity. The movement and the slogan have become a powerful rallying call throughout this past year for a large group of Americans. He goes on to explain that not only has the BLM movement become social, as have the implications of the defunding of the police trend, but it has become political as well. In “The Case for Defunding the Police,” Eligon places a special focus on the political, emotional and social perspectives which define defunding the police.
Eligon introduces the topic by stating that there are a few important points to consider in order to better understand the phrase defund the police. The goals of defunding the police are to reallocate the funding that goes towards public security in the United States. One way this could look is by cutting the police funding, and putting the money that was cut from the police budget towards social services like services for youth, education, housing, healthcare and other community-wide programs that are considered to be a form of security via prevention and community investment. Additionally, Eligon discusses how limiting police funding also supports the goal of protecting communities, in the sense that if funding is cut from police departments, funding will be available to other areas of society that need just as much funding as police departments to stay afloat and support the communities by providing broader access to resources. Eligon calls for his audience to reflect upon which societal areas each listener values the most in his discussion about funding.
It is also necessary to highlight Eligon’s take on the impact defending the police has on different groups, and on how defunding the police is a social act. One of the host’s purposes in this podcast is to demonstrate the specific and achievable goals related to this issue, and provide context on whether these goals are attainable. In an example examined in this episode, Eligon mentions that a majority of people said that they would rather not defund the police because they feel as though funding is not the root of the policing issues our society faces. The root of the issue is that across the country, many police officers are compelled by their jobs to act in capacities they are not trained for, and to respond to a wide spectrum of problems with a narrow set of tools.
To conclude, Eligon asks for emphasis on education, reflection and communication on the topic of defunding the police and Black Lives Matter. According to him, politicizing the issue isn’t the answer. He claims that education is vital in order to understand other perspectives.