Last updated on: 3/6/2024 | Author:

Should Police Departments Be Defunded, if Not Abolished?

While there are multiple interpretations of “defund the police,” the basic definition is to move funding away from police departments and into community resources such as mental health experts, housing, and social workers. In the larger scope of the civil rights movement, some advocates would reallocate some police funding while keeping police departments, others would combine defunding with other police reforms such as body cameras and bias training, and others see defunding as a small step toward ultimately abolishing police departments and the prison system entirely. While ProCon has noted where candidates believe federal law enforcement should be defunded, this question concerns local and state police departments. For more on defunding the police, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

CON (no)


Joe Biden:

I know what works: Investing in crime prevention and community police officers who’ll walk the beat, who’ll know the neighborhood, and who can restore trust and safety.

So let’s not abandon our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice.

Let’s come together to protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable.

That’s why the Justice Department required body cameras, banned chokeholds, and restricted no-knock warrants for its officers.

That’s why the American Rescue Plan provided $350 Billion that cities, states, and counties can use to hire more police and invest in proven strategies like community violence interruption—trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and giving young people hope.

We should all agree: The answer is not to Defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”


White House, “Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address As Prepared for Delivery,”, Mar. 1, 2022


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

“Instead of defunding the police, we will transform the police. We will incentivize them to prevent violence, not make unnecessary arrests. We will train them in deescalation and mediation skills and partner them with neighborhood organizations. No longer will their relationship to the public be adversarial. They will focus their attention on serious crimes, not harassing ordinary people.”


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Civil Liberties,” (accessed Sep. 13, 2023)


Donald Trump:

“I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police departments Americans know the truth: Without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy, and without safety there is catastrophe. Though we may all come from different places and different backgrounds, we’re united by our desire to ensure peace and dignity and equality or all Americans.”

Editors’ Note: Trump called for defunding federal law enforcement on Truth Social : “Republicans in Congress should defund the DOJ and FBI until they come to their senses. The Democrats have totally weaponized law enforcement in our country and are viciously using this abuse of power to interfere with our already under siege elections!”


Kevin Breuninger, “Trump Signs Executive Order Urging Police Reform, Says Cops Need More Funding,”, June 6, 2020
Source for Editors’ Note: Sahil Kapur, “Donald Trump Calls for Defunding Federal Police After His Arrest in New York,”, Apr. 5, 2023