The Intelligence Briefing: Policing In America

Policing Intelligence Squared Debate

The first presidential debate left us deeply disappointed. The debate stage is no place for personal attacks, constant interruptions, or partisan talking points. Let us remind you what real debate – the true competition of ideas – can look like in our country. This week, we highlight our season premiere on policing and criminal justice in America.

Here’s what we have in store:
     – Point / Counterpoint: Policing in America
     – Intelligraphic: What Do You Think of Police Reform?
     – Double Digits: 1033
     – Points of View: Insights and analysis from past debaters

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Two perspectives on one of the nation’s biggest debates this week.
Policing in America

Nearly 60% of Americans say we need “major changes” in American policing. While President Trump signed an executive order aimed at improving law enforcement operations, the Biden campaign has released a plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice. What should policing look like in the future? Last week, we held our season premiere debate “Unresolved: American Policing.” Unlike our Oxford-style debates, the Unresolved format consists of multiple resolutions, five debaters, and a lot of room for agreement, disagreement, and nuance. And unlike the spectacle we saw on Tuesday, our debate was full of fact-based arguments, structure, and civility.

You can now watch the full video, listen to the podcast, or tune into your local public radio station to hear the full debate. Here’s what our esteemed debaters had to say:

Defund the Police

As a policy, what defund the police means to me is reallocating the billions of dollars that go into policing, into programs that actually are proven to make communities safer.” – Paul Butler

[Defunding] will significantly reduce the capacity of law enforcement to keep crime and disorder at bay in the United States of America. And that is a failure whose consequences will fall disproportionately on black and brown communities throughout the United States.” – Rafael Mangual

Police Unions Do More Harm Than Good
The unions are collective bargaining and they’re bargaining for reductions in accountability. I will even note that police unions will come forward and oppose police reform ideas that come from other police officers.” – Vikrant Reddy

Unions serve an important function for employees, especially employees in a dangerous working environment where funding is limited. There needs to be strong advocacy for safety and reasonable pay. In my experience, the unions get blamed for what elected officials do.” – Sue Rahr

The Police Are Too Militarized
The problem is that police officers think of themselves as warriors. It’s us against them, and them is we the people. Well, we the people, the police, are supposed to serve and protect.” – Paul Bulter

We’re in a country that has about 15 million military style assault weapons out there and […] in 2019 there were 417 mass shootings. We still face the risk of terrorism that local law enforcement is a first responder to.” – Jason Johnson


What Do You Think Of Police Reform?
We asked you, our live virtual audience, to make your voice heard on three timely questions related to police reform. Let’s see where you stood, and what arguments swayed your mind:
Facebook Boycott

When one number tells two stories.

The federal program that transfers excess military equipment to law enforcement.

Should domestic law enforcement and the military share equipment? As of June 2020, nearly 8,200 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies from 49 states and four U.S. territories have received surplus military equipment, including weapons. Have the police become too militarized, or should these materials be repurposed for security?
Militarized or Modernized? – Fraternal Order of Police

Top insights and news from the intellectual leaders
who have battled it out on the Open to Debate stage.

– Should the Senate vote on the vacant Supreme Court seat before November’s presidential election? Robert Reich argues no. [Read more via Eurasia Review, Robert’s debate on taxes]

– Noah Feldman argues that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s personal conservative philosophies will not hinder her judicial judgement and advocates for her nomination. [Read more via Bloomberg, Noah’s debate on constitutional authority.]

– Meanwhile, David Cole argues that the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett will favor conservative decisions, marking the tipping point of the Supreme Court. [Read more via Washington Post, David’s debate on the NSA]

– What should the presidential nominees do for the 56 million students across the nation? Van Jones dives in. [Read more via CNN, Van’s debate on California.]

– Is it time to remove the natural born citizen clause from the Constitution and let immigrants be president? Randall Kennedy makes the case. [Read more via USA Today, Randall’s debate on affirmative action.]

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