Professor Elizabeth Hinton on the roots of the insatiable American thirst for over-policing.
When I ran for statewide office in 2020, I had a plan to “De-Burden the Police”, which was basically a way to increase base salaries and get non-police to act on some social cases at the cost of overtime, which goes into calculating pensions in my state.
The pure rage I got from people was absurd. Most of them saw “the police” and didn’t read farther. If I’d have broached defunding the police in this extremely conservative area, there’s a strong chance I’d have been shot. That’s not hyperbole, I had guns pulled on me then.
I don’t know how to fix that Pavlovian response, because once it kicks in, the conversation is over. Getting rid of it is only the first step in getting over our addiction to police.