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Talking About the Defund the Police Movement
Talking About the Defund the Police Movement

Talking About the Defund the Police Movement

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Time & Location

Jun 18, 2024, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT


About the event

Why is this important: Galvanized by the high-profile deaths of Black Americans Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others, “defund the police” quickly entered the discourse. Following the protests that occurred during the summer of 2020, the defund the police movement intensified with calls for reform and transparency. Some districts fully defunded their police through town and city legislation, while others shifted to an increased transparency model. Strong divides remain and police recruitment has plummeted in the wake of the recent years’ conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and low unemployment rates in other careers. It is an important conversation to have in our schools, colleges/universities, and workplaces.

Program overview: This program will draw from the book, How to Engage in Difficult Conversations on Identity, Race, and Politics in Higher Education, to better prepare teachers, faculty, administrators, and human resources to engage in these difficult conversations more effectively. The presenters will define the defund the police movement and offer an overview of both sides of the debate in terms of pros and cons. The presenters will also review the historical underpinnings related to decades of reforms including community policing, body cameras, and citizen oversight bodies that many feel have fallen short of the needed reforms. A discussion of the counter-movement, Blue Lives Matter, and a middle ground solution of reform and reimagining the cope of police work will also be reviewed. We will also discuss how the Blue Lives Matter response relates to the Black Lives Matter movement. Presenters will offer advice and guidance related to holding conversations with an awareness of emotional and cultural intelligence.

Group exercises, case examples and sample discussion questions will be provided to further the conversation. Some examples of reflective exercises, future actions, and a case example.

REFLECTIVE EXERCISE: Campaign Zero asserts that we can live in a world where the police don't kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability. Using the interactive graphic that presents ten categories with policy solutions to end police violence, break students into small groups, assigning them one each of the ten concepts to discuss: 1) end broken windows policing practice, 2) increase transparency by enacting effective civilian oversight, 3) increase training and focus to reduce use of force, 4) reduce dependence on local police forces to gather information to gather evidence and investigate its own officers, 5) ensure police match the make-up of the community they are engaging with, 6) increase transparency with the use of body camera, 7) offer additional training on topics of cultural competence, mental illness, and crisis de-escalation, 8) remove “for-profit” policing related to tickets and quotas and limit fines for low-income people, 9) demilitarize police forces and refocus on community engagement, and 10) create fair police union contracts to limit unbalanced protections.

FUTURE APPLICATION: What are the underlying root causes of the debate on police reform and the defund movement (historical, social, economic)? How can individuals better understand the issues and facts surrounding police reform to impact systems, practices, and policies?

CASE: There was a very public event that occurred on your campus where the police were accused of disregarding cultural and/or racial issues in their response. In the aftermath of the response and subsequent protests from students, there was a willingness on the part of the chief of police to increase training for their staff. They ask the student government association to provide some suggested training options they would be willing to review for content and cost for the officers. What trainings (either thematic or specific) do you suggest for the police?

Participants will be able to:

  • Understand basic terminology and general understanding of the defund the police debate from both sides.
  • Understand the central sides of the debate in order to better facilitate a discussion.
  • Review the historical underpinning’s of this debate and how to best address such a heated issues in the schools, college/universities, and workplaces.

Program includes:

  • Online access to the live 90-minute program.
  • A recorded version* of the program on along with test questions and a compliance report for the administrator of a department, college, or university.
  • Three interactive sample exercises to encourage discussion in school, college, and workplace settings.
  • A summary document outlining some ways to be aware of your personal beliefs in this area when hosting a forum for discussion and/or listening to a point of view you do not agree with.
  • A detailed handout summarizing police actions based on race.
  • Discussion questions for group discussion to continue after the live program.

* Access for one year after the date of the live program. Additional year(s) access available for 20% purchase price.


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