- Jul 9, 2008
- Reaction score
- Covington, WA
Lots to think about. Animal Control is only able to respond if they have the staff, the budget, and are well run. Social Services are only effective if they are staffed, funded, and are well run. And so on. It's a tough sell, if you're in the city, county, or state budget office, have limited money and are making decisions about who to fund and who to not fund... where does the money go? If it's between the police and social services... generally, the money goes to the police. Which pinches the social services resulting in fewer resources and services they can provide, which then results in the cops being called to do things they aren't well trained to do or are outside of the scope of their job. It's a cycle that goes on all the time at every level of government... robbing peter to pay paul.I think there have been some good ideas proposed by both sides of the debate regarding changes in law enforcement but people are so dug into their beliefs they won't listen.
For example the "send a social worker" idea. My first response from the police side of the brain says that stupid they will get killed. BUUUT the more I think about it I agree with it sort of.
Law Enforcement has become the catch-all for people when they don't know who else to call. It's 4 am and there is a dog barking and animal control is closed so call the police, It's Sunday afternoon and there is a homeless guy panhandling in front of the business area well social services is closed call the police. An autistic adult is having some issues at a movie theater call the police. Well, sometimes the police are not the best organization to be called. Our knowledge and resources are limited.
Every special interest group alive wants the police to be an expert in their cause. I deal with that at work now. Im the only former law enforcement on our team and the others get so frustrated that cops don't pay more attention to "our cause." I have to remind them that we are just one of 50 causes that demand an officer's attention. So while it may not always be "social workers" being sent if we stopped making the police the "I don't know who else to call so I called you" for non-police matters and instead have other orgs either govt or non-profits respond to non-police matters, it gives the person in need of help better-trained people for that particular issue they are dealing with and it frees law enforcement to focus on actual crimes.
Everything costs money, and taxation is definitely big "P" political, where different folks have different opinions. But regardless of what your opinion is on taxation, it's just a fundamental truth that no matter how hard working and competent folks are, if you don't have the staff or the funding, you will at some point need to start reducing services or see a loss in quality. True for the police and also for social services, animal control, and so on.