People are pushing to “defund the police”. But what we should really be doing is funding more training.


PHOENIX, AZ- “Defund the police.”

Clearly, that is one of the more ridiculous cries we’ve heard in the recent weeks. However, it’s important to understand that more times than not, when people say they want police defunded, they don’t mean that they want to get rid of the police all together.

Generally, they’re saying they want to spend less money on the police departments, equipment, training, etc., and reinvest that spending into other areas like criminal justice reform, low income communities, etc.

At the same time, they say they want their police to have more training on how to deal with certain situations. They want more training for de-escalation, they want racial sensitivity training, they want mental health training.

I’m here to tell you, it can’t be both.

You can’t spend less money on police and have them receive more training. That’s just not realistic.

Let’s take a look at what more training could look like for police. People all over the country are demanding that law enforcement receive better and more training, and rightfully so. An officer can’t function as they’re intended to if they don’t get above adequate and consistent training.

Some academies provide sufficient training in the above-mentioned areas, but many are severely lacking. They’re lacking in the amount of training offered as well as the type.

First let’s talk about the amount of training. Did you know that in many states, cosmetologists or similar professions require over double the amount of training to be certified than police do to become an officer?

VirTra simulation training brought this information to light and looked into it further.

They found that in California, for example, a police officer is required to have 664 hours of training to earn their badge, whereas a licensed cosmetologist must undergo 1,600 hours.

VirTra also pointed out other glaring differences:

  • North Carolina – Barbers need 1,520 hours of training; police officers only need 620.
  • California –Licensed cosmetologists need 1,600 hours of training; police officers need 664.
  • Florida –Interior designers must have 1,760 hours of training, but police officers only need 770.
  • Massachusetts –Licensed HVAC technicians need 1,000 hours of training and policemen need 900.
  • Michigan – Licensed electric sign specialists need 4,000 hours of training; policemen need 594.
  • Louisiana – Manicurists need 500 hours of training while police officers only need 360.

Of course, another thing to consider is that while some of the above professions have optional continued training, police are generally required to go through updates and trainings as they become available.

Some departments are good about getting yearly training to their officers, others not so much.

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Murdered officer's grave desecrated before headstone even placed

Recent events have shown on more than one level on how important it is to continue to offer relevant and current training to officers.

Specifically, real-world training is desirable for the law enforcement profession. It’s easy to have the officers sit at a desk and watch someone perform death-by-PowerPoint. But that isn’t an efficient way to train officers and ensure that they’ll get the most out of it, or that they’ll be able to transfer that training out into the field with them.

The simulation training that VirTra offers ensures that officers are put into situations that they may face on the road and better prepares the officer to do their jobs efficiently and safely, for all involved.

VirTra’s curricula are more beneficial to the officers, by immersing them in real-life situations where an officer must practice judgmental use of force, rather than hours of lecture in a classroom would be.

This is the compromise that people are looking for. They say “defund” because they’re angry at certain events that have transpired, but they mean “better training” because that’s what’s necessary to implement positive changes in law enforcement.

Police officers are necessary for the safety of our communities. We need them to be well and properly equipped to handle whatever situations they may face.

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