I am writing to express my disappointment over the alarmist editorial in the August 9 Martlet. By citing police as the solution for loose dogs, children falling down stairs, and overdoses, the Martlet perpetuates the idea that surveillance and criminalization are integral to community wellbeing and safety.
Having a police department with 208 officers, receiving 22 per cent of the operating budget (the highest cut by far) is not an emergency. The real emergency is that we are treating mental illness, substance use, and poverty as criminal issues. When I see armed police surrounding a scared, vulnerable person — that for me is what goes against everything I’ve learned about safety.
The editorial states that efforts such as naloxone training “can make a big difference if a police response cannot be immediate.” Learning to support, respond to, and care for each other as a community should not seen as a contingency plan; it should be the priority.
It is possible to divest from policing. And it is possible for that to be a success, not a crisis. I look forward to the day when people could consider calling on their neighbour, rather than the police, when they see a loose dog or a community member in distress.
Fourth year Anthropology student