I want to propose something for the communities of Galveston County to consider: We don’t need more police. And we don’t need better police. What we need are better and more varied ways to address the problems that police have for far too long been called upon to solve — and for equally as long have failed.

If I’m bipolar, schizophrenic, suicidal or otherwise mentally ill, I don’t need anyone with a gun or a badge to talk me off a ledge. What I need is a mental health professional.

If I’m homeless, I don’t need to be arrested, jailed or paraded through the streets on a rope by mounted officers. What I need is food, shelter and a living wage. If I have a problem with drug abuse, what I need isn’t a prison cell, where violence begets violence and recidivism rates exceed 80 percent, but a program for non-coercive treatment and rehabilitation.

I want to underscore that the function of the police, even at their best, isn’t to solve social problems, but to disappear the people who have them — and it’s no coincidence that a disproportionate number of these people must also bear the burden of being black in a world where blackness doesn’t connote the need to be cared for, but the need to be coerced and contained.

So, instead of advocating for better training or increased diversity, what I propose is this:

Decrease the risk of police violence and interpersonal harm simultaneously by investing in care rather than cops. This would mean moving funds away from police departments toward education (teachers and counselors in particular), housing and health care infrastructure — including non-coercive mental health care, wellness resources, neighborhood-based trauma centers, non-coercive drug and alcohol treatment programming, peer support networks and training for health care professionals.

I should emphasize that this approach is neither unfounded nor unprecedented. In fact, it’s already being considered and implemented in cities across the country. What’s unfounded, however, is the notion that reforms requiring cities to pour more resources into police departments will one day bring an end to police violence.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Mariame Kaba documents a long history of investigations into police misconduct and all-too familiar recommendations for reform, from review boards to implicit-bias training. Offering George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis as a prime example, she emphasizes that neither the commissions nor the reforms have halted the violence.

Following Angela Davis, I suggest we recognize that the history of the police is a history of reform. Demands to stop police violence will always exceed the purview of what the police are designed to do.

It is for this reason that I want to encourage our communities to imagine “justice” otherwise. It is for this reason that I echo the demands of organizers across the country engaged in sustained struggle against the conditions that make black death possible: “Invest in care, not cops.”

Jaeden Johnson is a 2018 graduate of Texas City High School and is a junior at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

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(12) comments

Sharon Stratman

Well said. Thank you.

Ray Taft

Hopefully, the party of slavery, Jim Crow laws and the KKK will listen to this young man.

Hopefully, all those leaders in all those Democrat run cities, with all the violence going on, will listen to this young man.

Hopefully, the racist and bigoted Democrats are listening to this young man and will end their evil ways and help, instead of exploiting people.

Gary Miller

Ray> Not voting for the racist Democrat party could be the best advice. Teaching the difference between the Black culture and White culture could help. That violence is never the answer to every disagreement. Earning not fighting is the way to get respect.

Ted Gillis

Scroll......Scroll.....Scroll

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] I couldn't agree more. When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. We need more tools.

Charles Douglas

More tools? Okayyyy,..Lets stop corrupt individuals in high places from embezzling and misappropriating funds, money, and TOOLS meant to help citizens who abides in poverty stricken areas, or ghetto areas there, and put them under better management, so life will improve all the way around. They say if you keep doing what you have been doing which got you in a hole, you will NEVER ...get out of the hole! More than that, having an expectation of getting out is equivalent to insanity! I saw this theory proven at my high school years ago! The school was badly operated, badly staffed, and many students were injured because of it. There were some who were not and you have to understand, they would have made it under any conditions! Others needed help, and they did not get it until the leadership was changed! Sadly help came to late for thousands and thousands who went there! The change came about by peaceful protests in the middle of the streets in front of the SEGREGATED school, day after day, because people who were complacent, we're then being led by an educated BLACK DOCTOR who was new to the area! Dr. DRAKE led the resistance until somebody did something about the atrocious conditions we were under! Notice I said peaceful protests! I did not see any burnings, looting, cars burning, people getting their heads busted or anybody getting killed! What was done there ...was covered nationally by the media, and in effect fast tracked the plans to integrate LMISD ( out of embarrassment ) which was then one of the best places to be educated in Texas, accept when you crossed 1765 over into the West Texas City part of LMISD! What's my point? My point is to recruit qualified and better Local Leadership! Not like you see in Minneapolis where the country of CHAZ has just been formed and the mayor says that is a beautiful thing! Not like we see in Chicago, and Detroit for the last few decades, where African-Americans are setting records by being shot down by other African-Americans, but funny thing,...nobody seems to care! Not like in Baltimore Maryland today where fat Politicians have their chests sticking out ..running their mouths while their constituents lives in blight and ghetto condition with trash staked up four foot high, in grass five feet high in the politicians' districts. Stop blaming the National government and start taking responsibility for one's city, town, and schools! We are responsible for that, NOT TRUMP!

Wayne D Holt

I'm pretty sure most police would agree they are called on to handle problems that are better left to other professionals. The issue is money. Many of the people the police deal with simply prefer criminal activity to abiding by laws. If the money for these worthwhile suggestions just comes out of police budgets to the detriment of crime fighting, criminals will take note and begin to prey on the community even more.

Is our police budget bloated in Galveston? That is a topic worth discussing but until recently promised pensions for GPD officers weren't even assured. How do we fund effective police deterrence alongside the positive social actions mentioned in this piece?

Ted Gillis

Well, Okay then Charles. For once I read you post and it made sense.

Bailey Jones

He does that sometimes.

Charles Douglas

Gillis, I was just as long on this post as many others who posts here, but I could care less concerning what you think about what I post, I've mentioned that to you before! Again, what you think, means nothing to me, period! You call my name more than my two girlfriends! What's that about? I've posted here for years,..seen them come and watch them go, but never have I had anyone so infatuated with me as you seem to be! What's that about? I thought You got over me since the last time I admonished you some weeks ago, but now you are calling my name again. I did that to a girl I knew in school years ago, I liked her but I feared rejection, so I pestered her, and called her name a lot, and agrivated her, like you are trying to do me. Dude, ...you need to find you a friend and it is not me. Okay? Lets see....Montrose, do you know anything about That?

David Hardee

OPINION based on research - I have found an alternative to Black Lives Matter It is called the Woodson Center. It is a black organization with a message and activities that are not destructive. I donate money to the Woodson Center believing, knowing, it is used to better humanity (all of us).

Mr. Johnson, very good article – but nothing new - another iteration of wanting to have special handling for those whose acts result in a 911 call or a direct confrontation with a police officer. Some officers' reactions were found unjustified and some were deadly, as you correctly stated.

In essence, your recommendation is to establish a triage between the police and the person(s) they will confront.

Operations to satisfy your suggestion requires every 911 call the operator must question the caller sufficiently to determine the degree and particulars of the emergency and dispatch the appropriate service, not always the police. Right? Or, have a selection in the rotary of 911 to select 1 if suicidal and 2 if mentally disturbed, etc. It is always the details that make good solutions un-attainable, darn it.

I am ignoring the parts of your article that denigrate those historical police actions. And ignoring the parts where you parse the types of individuals that are mentally disturbed, under influence of a substance, suicidal, etc. Obviously, since the perpetrator(s) are demonstrating behavior that requires police they are the persons that have been discarded by all the parties in their proximity as beyond their help (i.e. family, friends, neighbors, affiliations with the church, etc.) and turned out into society for the police or others to handle.

Your article is a rendition of the progressive liberal “big tent” mantra where it is society that has the responsibility for all the inappropriate behaviors, even those that are self-inflicted. When the “big tent” has a failure it denies being responsible and charges the failure as the Government responsibility.

There is another Democratic guidance to the society on managing the individuals within their “big tent.” That is the “it takes a village to raise a child.” Conceptually this platitude encompassing the environment a child finds itself captured in. We are all born equal – but immediately with the severance of the umbilical, every child is a slave to those persons and the environment in immediate proximity. That is the child’s village. The child is captive to the person(s) responsible for its birth. The next level of captivity and responsibility is the family. Neither the neighborhood nor the city, state, etc. are responsible at this point for the decisions of the copulates or the environment they deliberately choose for the captive child.

I won’t continue with expanding this description of the irrationality of the progressive liberals. Those that read this far and understood will expand the rest of the story

correctly.

Those that read your article know you intend the best for all and what you desire is. peace and tranquility with equality for all. Your description of the solution was well-intended. Your building a scenario for judging the persons and their acts is from a perspective with an opinion that is unfair, in my opinion.

We are making (won’t use “progress” has become the nondirectional word used to delude readers as meaning better) better ourselves and hopeful society with these articles.

We will get there, peace, tranquility and equality eventually!

Ted Gillis

Admonish me? Please.

And what’s that little snide remark about Montrose supposed to mean? Are you offended that another man taking interest in your opinion?

You got some serious self confidence issues.

Several girlfriends my foot.

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