Citizens, police react to the idea of 'defunding the police'

Posted at 12:13 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 12:13:38-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Videos and audio clips of police brutality against African Americans are being shared on social media more.

One of the most recent cases coming to light was Elijah McCain, a 23-year-old who died in police custody last August.

A movement to “defund the police” has been trending over social media since the death of George Floyd. Some people believe that police departments around the country should be defunded while others think their needs to be a longer and more rigorous training period.

“I do not think you should defund the police because we need police,” Stacey Johnson, a Charlottean who briefly lived in Richmond in the spring said. “Yes, I feel like they should go through more in-depth training, you have to go to college for any other job, so why is it not enforced as much in this field, in this country, to go to college for this job for an extended period? Other countries make their cops go to police schools for years.”

In some states, training to be a U.S. officer and carrying a gun on behalf of the state, range anywhere from two months to nine months, while countries such as Norway and Finland have their trainees attend their nations' three-year police universities, and leave with degrees that are equivalent to a bachelor's per CBS News.

Johnson believes that there is not enough effort for such an important job. “It says to me that there is bare minimum effort for a job that should be held to a higher standard."

Chesapeake Chief of Police Kelvin L. Wright said that to become a police officer in Chesapeake is no easy task whatsoever.

“It is not easy to be a police officer,” Wright said. “It takes six months to apply, there are thorough background checks and psychological exams to make sure a person is fit for the job. We will not hire someone who does not pass the exams, then there are 26 weeks of rigid training, then 12-20 weeks of field training and lastly a two year probation period. Anytime during the two years, we can terminate a person who has problems not becoming of an officer.”

As to where the money goes, Wright said most of it goes to the payroll.

“Eighty-five percent [of the money] goes to salary, whether that is for an officer who works the street or the officers at schools,” Wright said. The other 15 % goes to things like keeping the lights on, some vehicles, and the 911 system. No matter how small an issue is people always call 911.”