Stop Overpolicing

What is “overpolicing?”

“Overpolicing” is when a municipality and police dept. maintain an arrest policy which includes repeatedly arresting low-level, non-violent offenders.

“Overpolicing” is usually driven by arrest quotas. Police officers are required to make a certain number of arrests or citations, such quotas being instrumental in funding a municipal budget.

Retired and ex-police officers admit driving to minority neighborhoods to make arrests and to meet their quotas.

Police departments usually eat up about half a municipality’s budget.

National data shows that of more than 10.5 million arrests made every year: the bulk are for noncriminal behavior, drug violations, and low-level offenses.

Since 1980, arrests for drug violations have increased by 170 percent, and racial disparities in enforcement have grown even more stark.

Since the police murder of George Floyd and others, a growing movement for police accountability also exposed systemic problems with everyday policing practices and community policies.

Aggressive enforcement of low-level offenses, especially in communities of color, causes long-term damage to those communities and their relationship with police.

“There’s a growing understanding that the problems of policing are not limited to a few high-profile deaths but are the result of a broader problem of over-policing,” said Alex Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College and author of a book that argues for alternatives to policing rather than police reform.

“The solution to this is not making police arrests friendlier or more professional. It’s to quit relying on arrests to solve any problem under the sun.”

ARE NON-VIOLENT MISDEMEANOR WARRANT ARRESTS NECESSARY?

Is it necessary for a community to arrest a person for a non-violent misdemeanor offense or a Failure-to-Appear on a non-violent misdemeanor offense?

Any objective examination of this issue includes a review of different types of non-violent misdemeanor offenses and the impact of not arresting FTAs.

Further, what are the alternatives to arresting a person for a non-violent misdemeanor offense or a Failure-to-Appear on a non-violent misdemeanor offense?

Instead of arresting a person for committing the instant offense of committing a non-violent misdemeanor, issuing the Defendant a citation and a court date is preferrable to instant arrest.

What does a community do when a Defendant fails to appear on their court date?

Instead of issuing an arrest warrant for the Defendant, instantly revoke the Defendant’s drivers license until the Defendant makes a court appearance on their misdemeanor citation and resolves their case.

Some municipalities already use this kind of non-violent misdemeanor no-arrest policy to avoid crowded jails, city expenses, etc.

The greatest benefit for a community to institute a non-violent misdemeanor no arrest policy is, the drastic reduction in police brutality and murder.

By eliminating most of the 15 million arrests made each year, we drastically and permanently reduce police brutality and murder by eliminating unnecessary, dangerous encounters between police and the public.

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