Since then, many cities, from Oakland to Baltimore, have moved to restore or increase police funding. Though it’s a necessary step, refunding the police, without more, is insufficient.
You see, police budgets weren’t the only things that changed in 2020. As a recent New York Times analysis found, more than “30 states have passed more than 140 new police oversight and reform laws,” since last year. The explicit aim of many of these laws was to raise the transaction costs of policing.
Examples include laws placing geographical restrictions on police hiring, criminalizing grappling techniques like neck restraints and eliminating qualified immunity. And the “reformers” are still at it: In just the last several weeks, the Chicago Police Department imposed new restrictions on the ability of officers to engage in foot pursuits, while Washington state lawmakers moved to prohibit police from using force to effect a stop based on reasonable suspicion, such that whether an officer can stop and frisk a suspect will now depend on that suspect’s willingness to comply.
And some of the progressive changes — from DAs who refuse to prosecute a vast range of crimes, to decriminalization of many forms of disorderly conduct, to bail and discovery “reform” — predated the Floyd incident.