As a 23-year resident of Upper Dublin, I have often marveled at how often I observe a police SUV in town. Having lived in the police state of China as a journalist in the '90s, it strikes me that police are more of a visible presence in this peaceful town than they ever were where I lived in Shanghai and Xi'an.
For years we've had 40 police officers in U.D in a population of 26,500. Our projected crime rate for 2020 based on prior years' trends is zero aggravated assaults (vs 3 in 2016), one arson, 10 burglaries (vs. 18 in 2016), and 100 thefts (vs. 191 in 2016). So why do we need to be paying $7.3 million in salary and benefits for 40 cops (that's 13 per shift plus the chief)?
In a time when cities as large as Minneapolis are considering shutting down their police departments and reimagining them as a health and safety departments where unarmed but trained conflict-resolving social workers will handle most of the calls for help, We in Upper Dublin should do the same with our little army of law enforcers who used to be called "peace officers" but who now drive around with AR-15s racked in their SUVs and wear sidearms and tasers everywhere they go -- even to buy coffee.
I've had nothing but good interactions with our cops but It's time for a change in our thinking. We don't need so many cops.