Burlington, Vt., ‘defunded' its police force. Here's what followed.

In Burlington, a city of progressive politics with a police department long seen as forward-looking, city leaders' decision in June 2020 to respond to social-justice protests by cutting the police force by 30% has backfired in a number of ways. By moving quickly without an analysis of optimal staffing or how to shift duties to other agencies, the "defund police" measure prompted more police resignations than expected. Residents complain about conditions on downtown streets that make them feel unsafe. The city has since restored some of the police positions while moving more deliberately toward alternatives.

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