Divestment from the Police Department Is Possible

We are calling for Asheville, NC, to cut its Police Department budget by at least 50%, as detailed in the Black Asheville Demands. 

The Case for Alternative Policing

Divestment from the Police Department Is Possible

Many cities are already taking action to reconfigure public safety and allocate resources in a way that addresses community needs without harming the people who live in those communities. Some examples of alternatives include addressing the conditions that are underlying crimes, or using unarmed personnel to respond to crises in communities.

Here are some of the more substantial examples of how this is already happening:

There are many others who are divesting from their Police Departments (examples include Hartford, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Baltimore, MD; Portland, OR) and still more who have pledged or sought to do so in their next budget cycles in the fall. However, many of these divestment strategies have been criticized: The budget cuts are not large enough, the reallocations provided are sometimes just ways to ensure police departments continue “business as usual” under different departments, and/or the budget cuts are not sufficiently accompanied by other changes to municipal services that will ensure the safety and well-being of the cities’ communities. Divestment is possible, but it’s not enough. We need to commit to substantial divestment of funding and a change in the way communities are served that is truly safer and meets community needs. Berkeley seems to be doing this the right way, and Berkeley is the closest city in size to Asheville of all of these examples.

Photo Credit: Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for The New York Times
Photo Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
(Photo Credit: Government Alliance on Race & Equity
Photo Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

Check out Defund the police? Other countries have narrowed their role and boosted other services, an article in the Washington Post that outlines how other countries have succeeded in their own divest/invest process.

Read BeLoved Asheville’s powerful position paper – “Alternatives to Policing | Asheville Police Department Must Change Now” and sign their petition,  www.change.org/policingalternativesavl.

6/23/2020; Painted by protestors near the APD. Credit: Ben Harper in the Citizen Times
MPD150 samples of zine resource for basics of dismantling PDs

Also from MPD150 website