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KPBS Midday Edition

What Does 'Defund The Police' Mean?

San Diego police officers stand guard on Broadway near State Street in front of City Hall amid protests, May 31, 2020.
KPBS Staff
San Diego police officers stand guard on Broadway near State Street in front of City Hall amid protests, May 31, 2020.
Christy Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law School and a co-director of the school’s Innovative Policing Program, says "defunding the police" doesn't mean zeroing out budgets. It means to reduce the demands placed on police and shift funding to mental health care, housing and other social programs.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council voted over the weekend to dismantle its police force.

The calls to abolish or "defund" police departments are growing louder across the country, including in San Diego. Some protestors have said they support "defunding" the police and activists are urging the City Council to reject a proposed increase to the police department and redirect money to other services.

RELATED: Biden Opposes Defunding Police, Campaign Says

But what is the "defund the police" movement about?

Christy Lopez, a professor at Georgetown Law School and a co-director of the school’s Innovative Policing Program, says "defunding the police" doesn't mean zeroing out budgets. It means to reduce the demands placed on police and redirect funding to mental health care, housing and other social programs. Critics argue reductions in funding would make cities less safe.

Lopez, who wrote about the topic in the Washington Post, joined Midday Edition on Monday to explain why "defunding" the police is may not be as radical as it sounds.