Chicago, IL

Should Chicago Defund The Police?

Matt Lillywhite
Photo via Unsplash

It's a question that many people in the city have asked over the last 12 months. Police brutality is causing citizens of Chicago to feel nervous about interactions with law enforcement. But with crime at an all-time high, several people think it's a terrible idea.

This article aims to explore both sides of the debate and whether defunding the police in the city of Chicago is actually a good idea (or not).

Why Chicagoans Want To Defund The Police

Unfortunately, policing is often seen as a last-minute response to crime and violence. When someone isn't committing a crime, police officers are limited in what they can do. However, when a crime is committed, substantial powers are granted to cops. For example, the ability to kill or taze an individual.

Last year, the mayor proposed an $80 million cut to the Chicago police budget. Her budget called for an $80 million reduction in tax funds coming to CPD. Still, only around $34 million of that would come from job losses. The rest would be offset by grant money or reassigned to the city's Office of Public Safety Administration to finance clerical jobs formerly occupied by officers. So, the city's public officials are certainly taking the idea of defunding the police very seriously.

Why Chicagoans Don't Want To Defund The Police

According to CNN, "reflexive calls from some corners to defund or abolish the police are foolhardy and dangerous. Qualitatively improving the policing profession, not disassembling it, is the best means to prevent such senseless tragedies (such as George Floyd's Death) from ever happening again. Federal lawmakers must find the courage to implement and fund a series of long-overdue reforms that effectively reset and make uniform, professional standards."

So, if defunding the police isn't a realistic path forward, what is? First, investments in mental health treatment for officers must be undertaken on a fiscal and policy level. Although the police must step up and treat citizens with respect, it's important to remember that those in uniform are our neighbors, family members, and individuals who want to support their community.

A record number of cops have committed suicide in the last few years, indicating that they urgently need intervention regarding mental health and assistance in law enforcement. Furthermore, procedural fairness operates in both directions. We must provide our police due process to hold them responsible for any potential crimes while on duty. Otherwise, cops might retaliate because they will be seen as scapegoats or political pawns.

Do you think Chicago should defund the police? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.

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Matt Lillywhite publishes national news and local stories. He can be reached via email at


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