Police Reform

elect Shannon Matson

There is a serious lack of trust between the public and police all over the Country and here in Hawaiʻi. We are at a moment of change right now, and some reforms are long overdue. I strongly believe we need to change what we are asking of our police force. If we were to diversify the ways in which we spend our police budget, we could spread some of the responsibility throughout other agencies in our community who would be better equipped to de-escalate high stress situations, and get families connected to the services and help they may need; such as mental health care, anger management counseling, addiction treatment programs, or resources to financial aid.

An undue emphasis on the use of force in policing and the unnecessary militarization of police response units are things I am firmly against and will work to end. Police should have to go through far more hours of bias and cultural sensitivity training, de-escalation training, as well as receiving more support on the job, such as counseling or help with PTSD. This is one of the most stressful jobs we ask our citizens to take on, and we should do everything we can to put them in situations where they will have positive outcomes. I do support the disclosure of misconduct records as well as more transparency and accountability from independent oversight boards, but I believe we have just as much, if not more, to gain from funding public safety programs that do not rely on the use of force.