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Don’t ‘defund police,’ but keep them accountable

Calls by some protesters to “defund police” have gained traction lately as rallies continue nationwide over the deaths of black people at police’s hands.

Such protests often highlight viewpoints held by only a few people. We don’t think most New Yorkers want to eliminate funding for police or starve their budgets.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo senses that, too. He quickly and definitively came out against movements to defund police agencies.

“You have New York City, that is still reeling from the COVID virus, and now you have this night of looting that I’m telling you shook people in the city to the core,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany on Sunday. “You don’t need police? You don’t need police?”

We rely on police officers to deal with situations we can’t handle, whether that’s someone breaking into a house, dealing drugs or threatening someone’s physical well-being.

Those who want to stop paying police officers should consider pinning badges on their chests and perform a neighborhood patrol. Working one shift in a cop’s shoes may change their mind.

Not that that would be a good idea. Amateur, volunteer police don’t have the knowledge, respect and publicly granted authority needed to control dangerous people. It would be anarchy.

That doesn’t mean police budgets are sacrosanct, though. Police are expensive for taxpayers to support, and New York state has the nation’s highest taxes. Leaders elected by the people have the power of the purse, which is essential. Police must be accountable to show the public their worth.

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