Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
June 15, 2020
The single most ridiculous and irresponsible policy idea that has been suggested in my lifetime can be summed up in three words: "Defund the police." And yet, it is actually being discussed and debated as if there are pros and cons to it by those on the Left. There are no “pros” to defunding the police. There are no coherent arguments for this lunacy.
I’ve spent a great deal of time talking with law enforcement officers in recent days. The level of anger and disgust in the law enforcement community toward the evil acts of the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd is beyond measure. The callous disregard for human life that was on display in the killing of Mr. Floyd is more difficult to watch than any horror movie.
While the vast majority of police officers in Florida and around the country uphold their oath to serve and protect, people are right to call for reform and accountability to stop bad actors. We must find ways to keep communities safe and protect black lives with the same zeal all lives are protected.
But defunding or disarming the police is not the answer. Simply put, it is a dangerous proposal driven by the radical Left whose agenda of "Medicare for all," the Green New Deal, open borders, and defunding law enforcement is being increasingly embraced by the leaders of the Democratic Party.
No logical person, and no person who cares about the health, well-being, and safety, would respond to this killing by suggesting the elimination or defunding of law enforcement. In fact, anyone suggesting this is advocating anarchy and violence in our communities.
If we defund the police, who do you call when your house gets broken into? Who’s going to patrol the streets to prevent drug trafficking and violence? Who’s going to investigate murders and rapes and assaults and robberies? Who’s going to protect our schools?
When asked about this reality, the Minneapolis City Council president responded by saying that this fear “comes from a place of privilege.” This is gibberish.
The goal of these proposals is to advance an extremist agenda, not seek genuine reforms that will protect communities and end racial violence. Stripping our brave men and women in uniform of the resources necessary to protect our communities would do nothing to keep people safe. In fact, this would endanger our communities more.
We actually need to do the opposite — we need to fund the police. Clearly, there is a need for better training in law enforcement. Clearly, there is a need for better oversight in law enforcement. I don’t know anything about the officer who decided to kneel on a man’s neck for nine minutes, but most rational people might suspect that this individual was a problem prior to that fateful and horrible day.
Whatever your job is, there is a very high likelihood that it is less difficult, less taxing, less perilous, and less scrutinized than the job of law enforcement officials. Police officers across Florida and across the country risk their lives every day to keep people safe, and they deserve our appreciation. They uphold their oath to serve and protect.
I won’t let the radical Left use the crimes of a few bad actors to demonize good, hard-working police officers in Florida.
Don’t defund the police. Fund the police.
Rick Scott, a Republican, is the junior senator from Florida.