By Janey Whitney
We just passed the 19-year mark since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also known as the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. On that day, 2,997 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks, including many frontline workers. 23 New York police officers died in the line of duty on September 11th, 2001, and over 200 NYPD officers later “died as a result of 9/11 related illnesses.”1
Democratic Socialists, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been calling for defunding of the police, stating that those funds should instead go into “kinds of social programming and investments that prevent crime and social discord in the first place.”1 She also questions the “$6 billion a year budget” put into the New York City Police Department.2 But some simple research explains this budget for a police department overseeing a city with 8.5 million residents, and with predictions to see 67 million visitors in one year.2
The NYPD employs “approximately 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees.”3 88% of that NYPD budget goes to salaries and wages for those willing to risk their lives to put food on the table for their families.4 But AOC fails to focus on the main portion of the budget, wages, and salaries. Even though these wages do follow the $15 minimum wage she fights so hard for, since “[i]n New York City, … [the minimum wage] is now $15.00 per hour for all size businesses.”5 She has also been particularly critical of the $1 billion budget cut to the NYPD, claiming it is not a large enough cut. This budget cut would leave the NYPD, an employer with approximately 50% of their employees being minorities, seeing job cuts.6
Looking back to September 11th, 2001, many firefighters and police officers made the ultimate sacrifice trying to save those in the twin towers on that day, which we will never forget. Police officers put their lives on the line to protect us, and they need the resources to best prepare. AOC’s call for defunding the police, and her theory that funding healthcare, housing, and the youth will produce less crime, doesn’t add up.7 Taking away funding from the police ultimately means fewer police officers and frontline workers to come to our aid when we need them. Even the democratic socialist’s plan of community patrol cannot take the place of the police. When the twin towers were falling down, the police and other frontline workers ran towards ground zero while everyone else was running to safety. Ask yourself how many people in your community would have run towards the towers as they were falling? Could you see yourself running in that building? We simply need police to be there during these crucial instances when we need them the most such as that day in 2001.
STEPHANOPOULOS, GEORGE. “One-On-One with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” Good Morning America (ABC), June 2020
LinkedIn: Janey Whitney
LBD.y Whitney is a 2019 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Law, Politics and Society. Janey has volunteered, interned, and worked in several different political settings: including law firms, think tanks, and political campaigns. She hopes to run for office one day, in hopes to combat socialist ideals and to fight to keep America the same great country we all love.