I recently was listening to a newscast where a young woman was talking about the current situation. The discussion included the "Defund the Police" cry, which brings a welcomed message to some and antagonistic reactions to others. Both those protesting police violence and the police are in a terrible situation. Although I realize this is not a cut-and-dry issue, I do know that if I am in peril, the first thing I would do is call the police. They are usually a welcomed sight at a moment of vulnerability. I have not personally experienced inappropriate police interactions, there are many stories of police interference that is not positive especially when hearing the stories of black citizens who are frequently without cause stopped, wrongly accused or experience even graver events.

"Defund the Police" is an extreme; there is no doubt in my mind that there must be some changes in how our country handles this situation. "Budget Your Values" is a lot more meaningful approach to the issues. Cities must concern themselves with the importance of providing all its citizens with opportunities to minimize the need for such overwhelming display of authority and power many times the first defense for police. When people feel they have been treated fairly, there is less need for amplified reactions.

Race inequality has been an issue since the founding of our country, from the takeover of the indigenous people to the exploitation of slavery for economic growth. It has been amplified the past four years with the rise of overt nationalism. "Budget Your Values" would allow government officials to fund support services, fair housing and job opportunities while creating a police force that deals with incidents within their realm.

As cities, states, and our country grapple with the increase of political separation, violence and protests, I think this simple concept would help in depolarizing either side so that the needs of a communities are included in the overall decisions made by our representatives.

BARBARA NEWCAMP 

Meadville

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