Crosscut Talks

Cop Culture and the New Era of Police Reform. Plus: How ‘Defund the Police’ is Playing Out in Seattle

June 11, 2020

On this week's episode we speak with former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper about tear gas, cop culture and ridding racism from American law enforcement. In the week's since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, the conversation around policing in America has taken a drastic shift. City leaders across the nation are responding to a sense of injustice, or maybe sensing a change in public opinion after videos of police violence against protesters have proliferated, and considering reforms that were far outside the mainstream just days ago. As activists encourage them to "Defund the Police," some have signaled that significant change is coming. While the exact shape of that change has yet to take form, the apparent goal is to re-engineer our idea of public safety, investing in at-risk communities, collaborating with those communities and replacing many police officers with specialists in social and mental health services. On this week's episode of Crosscut Talks we explore what these leaders are seeking to discard, and what will come in its place, with Stamper, who in addition to his 34 years as a police officer, has been a reform advocate. Plus, Crosscut city reporter David Kroman tells us what impact the movement to defund the police is having on Seattle City Hall.