Dukakis calls progressive ‘defund the police’ push ‘nuts,’ says it takes away from confirmed neighborhood policing


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis argues that Democrats ever embracing defunding police “is mindless in any respect,” saying different Democratic-run cities should comply with Boston’s lead in bolstering the connection between cops and the communities they serve with a purpose to drive down crime charges. 

The longest-serving governor in Massachusetts’ historical past, Dukakis mentioned Massachusetts, a state with one of many lowest homicide per capita charges within the nation, exhibits how Democrats have gotten it proper prior to now with regards to “neighborhood policing,” which entails having officers patrol totally different neighborhoods with a purpose to construct relationships and set up a baseline of respect with members of the neighborhood.  

That idea, nevertheless, has been threatened by progressives within the Democratic Social gathering who’ve aligned themselves over the previous 12 months with the “defund the police” motion. As departments had been scaled again, and crime charges soared in cities like New York and Chicago, neighborhood policing has taken a success.  

“Defunding the police doesn’t make any sense. Constructing a wonderful police pressure that it dedicated to neighborhood policing does make sense,” Dukakis advised Fox Information. “The extra the merrier.” 


“Look, there have been some individuals who began speaking about defunding the police. I known as it nuts,” he continued. “I believed it was a mistake. It doesn’t make any sense to me. In fact we want glorious policing. However it’s what sort of policing. How do you construct that relationship with communities?”

Dukakis pointed to how neighborhood policing would “revolutionize police in the USA” through the Nineteen Nineties, first when Boston Police Commissioner Invoice Bratton efficiently drove down crime, a lot in order that he was poached by New York Metropolis Mayor Rudy Giuliani to deal with document murder ranges. Bratton minimize the variety of homicides in half in New York Metropolis in only a two-year interval, Dukakis mentioned, earlier than Giuliani fired him. 

Bratton later turned chief of police in Los Angeles, the place he once more utilized the ideas of neighborhood policing by reaching out to American civil rights activist Connie Rice. As soon as a staunch critic of the LAPD, she grew to grow to be one in every of Bratton’s larger supporters, Dukakis mentioned. 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis speaks at the State House in Boston on July 20, 2016. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis speaks on the State Home in Boston on July 20, 2016. (Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe by way of Getty Pictures)

Chatting with The Washington Publish final month, Bratton mentioned how prison justice reform has sadly contributed to rising crime in lots of cities, as some offenders who want to stay in jail have been let again onto the streets to commit further violence. When requested about this difficulty by Fox Information, Dukakis mentioned, “There’s nothing fallacious with trying on the prison justice system to find out whether or not or not there are methods to enhance it.” 

“However the thought you can by some means stroll away from neighborhood policing, if that’s what among the advocates of defunding are speaking about, is mindless to me in any respect. In fact we want a police pressure,” he mentioned. 

Regardless of some progressives pushing to defund, reimagine or abolish police within the 12 months since George Floyd’s demise in Minneapolis, Dukakis was agency in saying that’s not what true progressive stand for.

“I’m a really proud progressive, and I’m a powerful believer in neighborhood policing,” Dukakis added. “The general public who I do know who name themselves real progressives perceive the significance of neighborhood policing.”


Dukakis credited Invoice Clinton as the primary president to get severe about neighborhood policing on the federal degree, however the Massachusetts Democrat nonetheless pressured mayors and native officers should be the primary to tackle the accountability of effectuating good policing. 

It is the ingrained tradition of neighborhood policing, and the truth that Northeastern College in Boston was one of many first faculties to supply diploma applications for police, is what’s pushed Massachusetts to have one of many lowest murder charges in America, Dukakis mentioned. 

As per the most recent complete statewide information revealed by the FBI, the homicide fee per 100,000 inhabitants in Massachusetts was 2.2 in 2019. Simply Maine, Vermont, Iowa, South Dakota, Idaho, Minnesota, Utah and Wyoming had that fee or decrease. The info for 2020 shall be launched this September. 

“My capital metropolis really diminished the extent of violence. Not that we’re violence free, don’t get me fallacious,” Dukakis mentioned, as homicides in Boston to this point this 12 months have declined by 29% in comparison with the identical time interval final 12 months. “I believe it’s vital that Boston occurs to be not solely in a state of the least violence within the nation, however appears to be coping fairly nicely with the pressures of the pandemic.” 

Boston has witnessed no less than 20 homicides to this point this 12 months via July 18. It’s pushed down homicides since 2020, when homicides unusually spiked by 54% in comparison with 2019. That compares to New York Metropolis, which has seen 233 murders to this point this 12 months via July 18. Homicides there have elevated by 3% in comparison with the identical time interval final 12 months. In 2020, murders in New York Metropolis had been up 47% in comparison with 2019. 


The necessity for extra, higher policing appears to be hitting residence within the Democratic Social gathering on the federal degree, as President Biden seemingly scorched defund the police’s efforts final week in saying he was making $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan obtainable to police departments throughout the nation to partially rent extra officers and fund additional time funds to get extra police onto metropolis streets. 

That adopted the Division of Justice additionally sending out strike forces to fight gun trafficking.  

“The day-to-day, week-to-week ongoing relationship with the neighborhood is vital,” Dukakis mentioned. “It’s not simply snapping your fingers and saying nicely we’re going to do a psychological well being program.” 

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