As hundreds of thousands of protesters across the world have gathered to demand justice for innocent black lives taken by law enforcement, an allied demand has also gained momentum: defund the police. The senseless murder of George Floyd on May 25 th , resulted in nationwide protests that forced a much needed discussion surrounding police brutality. These demonstrations have heavy focus on lengthy denunciations of law enforcement; including critics towards systemic racism, dated training, the militarization of police services, and the lack of accountability for abused police authority. The anger unleashed by the protests sends the message that previous attempts to address these and other problems through police reform have failed and a new system needs to be put into place. What Does Defund the Police Entail? Defunding the police does not necessarily mean terminating law enforcement. Instead, it leans towards reducing police budgets and branching those funds into community services like childcare, housing, mediation or education. “When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is invest in the resources that our communities need,” said advocate Samantha Keoghan, relating to the confusion surrounding the directed statement. “Services that help domestic violence victims, folks battling addiction et cetera are just as important as law enforcement services.” To put into perspective, Canadian cities are spending on average 20 percent or more of their budget on law enforcement. The Winnipeg Police are receiving $304.1 million this year, or 26.6 percent of the city’s $1.14 billion tax-supported disbursements. In a study conducted by, it shows that Winnipeg has the highest percentage among all provinces. In comparison, Winnipeg’s community services are getting $115 million, or 10 percent of the budget. Which is being spread sparingly through the hundreds of services the city offers Winnipeggers. What Does Disband Entail? Alternatives to Policing. Disbanding police altogether is a more deep-seated viewpoint but some Canadians appear to be on board. Disbanding a police department means altering the foundation of law enforcement by reinventing new protocols, training, and the structures in place currently. Advocates are pushing for the disbanding of law enforcement in their cities as they believe a new format that implements community services could positively aid their cities. For example, rather than dial 911 and have a police officer respond to an overdose, a medical professional would respond, or in the case of a wellness check, a mental health professional or social workers would overlook the scene. This could help prevent unnecessary force, violence, and ultimately death from law enforcement, which are not necessarily trained to effectively handle all aspects of the community. Although, disbanding the police has never been completed long-term, in other nations there seems to be a slight success rate. A 2017 report focused on several weeks during 2014-2015 when the New York Police Department intentionally decreased their ‘policing’. The results found that there were 2,100 fewer crime-related criticisms within that period. Concerns for Defunding and Disbanding – Who Will Be Affected Most? Despite its apparent popularity among protesters, defunding the police does not relish widespread support. As to be expected, workers in law enforcement have concerns about the debate towards change within their occupation. Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth stated that there is always room for reform, but this process needs to be approached cautiously. “These are not mutually exclusive ideas.” he said to the media on June 8th, “Our environment needs to get to a place where we’re a little more stable working in concert with each other, then we can talk about withdrawing some police services.” In discussion of defunding or disbanding the law enforcement, some opposing the shift worry that too much specialization could overwhelm the system’s coordination and dispatchers will not know who to contact in an emergency. That moment of thought could cause the said emergency to escalate. Others worry that budget cuts to law enforcement may affect training, there are also concerns that this would overall hinder the quality of officers protecting the city. The Winnipeg Free Press conducted an informal poll that asked participants how they believe Winnipeg should respond to calls to defunding police; almost 30% of the statistics voted that the ‘Police need more money, not less.’ Those against the defunding are proposing to not ‘defund’ but reimagine it—communities suggesting that we hire more BiPOC police officers or create more civilian-reviewed agendas. “Justice Cost More than Police Departments Are Worth” The birth and development of policing is set on a foundation of racism. As early policing entailed being slave patrols and ‘night watchers’. If something isn’t working, and it is not, why would we continue to use this method? Canada is second in line for the number of individuals killed by law enforcement worldwide. In comparison to the United States, the situation might be minimized in severity. But should we not strive to reduce this number to zero? The fight starts and ends with the understanding that police brutality is a systemic problem, and is not something that just happened. To win this fight and create a system that aids, protects, and serves all, we must make our calls as vocal as our demands for a better nation.