Greising: Defund CPD. A Popular Slogan but an Idea in Search of a Plan.

The call has gone out all across the land: “Defund the police.” It’s a popular slogan, even if the details are far from clear.

Protesters chant and wave signs at the CPD during a protest on June 06, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

In Minneapolis, the plan is to dismantle much of the existing, bias-plagued department. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has gone to the bottom line: A planned $150 million spending cut — 8% of the LAPD’s 2020 budget.

From the streets filled with protesters to city halls nationwide, and to the halls of Congress, definitions of “defund” differ. The idea has momentum, with governments responding and revising almost by the moment. However defund ultimately is defined — different ways in different places, no doubt — if the demand leads toward meaningful reform, it will do some good.

When I asked Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a news conference this week what “defunding” means to her, she first mentioned underinvestment in “black and brown Chicago.” Then turning to the narrower question of the Chicago Police Department itself, Lightfoot focused on leveraging the 16-month-old, court-monitored police consent decree.

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