Calls to defund the police have become more vocal in the US in the wake of national protests against racism and police brutality.
Advocates for the measure say they’re not suggesting cutting all funding for police departments, nor eliminating them entirely. Rather, they want funding to be partly redirected towards other initiatives, such as housing and education, to help communities across the US and address systemic issues.
McCain, who has branded herself as the conservative voice of The View, discussed the topic with Harris on Monday, asking the California senator: “Are you for defunding the police?”
Harris replied with a question, asking in turn: “How are you defining ‘defund the police’?”
McCain said the topic was “new” to her but that she assumed it meant “removing police” and “you would not have police officers”.
Harris responded that “we need to reimagine how we are achieving public safety in America” and that there is a “dire need” in some cities to focus budget on initiatives such as mental health resources, public schools, job training, and job creation.
Sunny Hostin, one of McCain’s co-host on The View, jumped in to add: “I think, just to add to the conversation: Defunding the police doesn’t mean abolishing the police.
“It means taking some of those funds that are typically one third of the budget of a city and giving some of those funds to services like mental health and education.”
Some officials have taken early steps to reduce or rearrange their police force’s funding.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the city would move funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services, while keeping the city safe, but he didn’t give details.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to cut as much as $150m that was part of a planned increase in the police department’s budget.
Additional reporting by agencies