Charlottesville man starts petition calling for demilitarization of police
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- David Swanson started a petition calling for the Charlottesville City Council to demilitarize the Charlottesville Police Department, stop warrior-style training for the police department and require de-escalation training for officers.
With calls for police reforms around the country, he believes now is the perfect time for it.
"Why not? I wouldn't have said so a month ago, but now, why in the world not," said Swanson. "If Minneapolis can start dismantling their police department, why can't Charlottesville? Why shouldn't Charlottesville be a leader rather than bringing up the rear."
He wants to see some of the police funding go toward human and environmental needs and services around Charlottesville and he said it is less expensive.
"Education, toward parks, towards housing, toward health services, toward mental health services, toward rehabilitation and other ways of addressing crises beyond locking people up," said Swanson. "It's cheaper to fund services, to fund health services and family services and jobs and training and give people and good lives than it is to fund police in prisons. That costs more and it's counter-productive."
He hopes the city council makes a decision on this soon, so people can understand that policing is not always the answer.
"It's not get rid of the entire police force tomorrow, but it's move resources to human and environmental needs from armed, militarized police departments," added Swanson.