Actor Dean Cain has some very definite opinions about the recent push to defund police departments.
Cain may be best known for a string of recent Hallmark movies or as Clark Kent from the 1990’s series “Lois & Clark,” but he’s also a reserve police officer with Idaho’s St. Anthony Police Department — and he spoke with the Daily Caller about the potential impact of defunding or disbanding police departments across the country. (RELATED: ‘Superman’ Dean Cain To Put On Badge As Reserve Officer, Because ‘Real Heroes Don’t Wear Capes’)
“I jumped at the chance and put on the badge.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 21, 2018
“The cry to ‘defund the police’ is one of the most ridiculous and dangerous movements I have seen in my lifetime,” Cain began, arguing that police departments fulfill one of the main charges of local governments: to protect the physical safety of the citizens. “Without the safety of law and order, no citizen in any society is safe. Society cannot function if safety is not secured. That’s the main job of government: protect the safety of its citizens.”
Cain weighed in on several cities where bold steps have already been taken to either cut funding to police departments or dismantle them altogether.
“Minneapolis is going to be a disaster. New York City IS a disaster (the stats are overwhelmingly terrible), and Mayor de Blasio needs to go,” Cain continued. “Morale in the NYPD is terrible, and officers are retiring in such numbers that they’ve had to cap the number. Police officers are jumping from the sinking ship, and I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t want to be a police officer in either city — and that’s terrible.”
The Minneapolis City Council, following the death of George Floyd in police custody in May, voted unanimously on June 12 to abolish the police department. By June 24, a dramatic uptick in gun violence in Minneapolis had resulted in extra cops being called in to quell the unrest.
Local reporter Christiane Cordero said that despite the city council’s vote, black community leaders were in favor of reforming the department rather than eradicating it entirely.
To be clear: Black community leaders who live in the neighborhoods affected by the recent violence support reforming MPD and NOT abolishing it.
“If you’re for sure that Black lives matter, put those dollars back in our community in education, in housing, in public safety.” #wcco
— Christiane Cordero (@ChristianeWCCO) July 8, 2020
In New York City, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio answered calls to defund police by signing off on a city council vote that stripped $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced that, in addition, the city’s plain-clothes anti-crime unit would be disbanded as well. (RELATED: ‘They’re Gonna Get Shot’: Rudy Giuliani Blasts De Blasio’s Plan To ‘Take The Community Back’ Without Police)
New York City, following those changes, also saw a dramatic increase in violent crime.
Cain, who vocally supported police officers long before becoming one himself, noted last month that the move to defund police had picked up steam in Hollywood — and said that it showcased the hypocrisy of the celebrities who supported it.
During a June 6 appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Cain pointed out the fact that most of these celebrities calling for police departments to be defunded also had access to private security — something that average citizens can’t afford.
Cain addressed the death of George Floyd as well, and the viral video of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and unresponsive — which led to Chauvin and three other officers being fired and charged in relation to his death.
“Officer Derek Chauvin is in jail for murder. That’s justice. What happened to George Floyd is reprehensible, and not what officers are taught (certainly not in my department), and he should be held accountable,” Cain explained, making the clear distinction that accountability should come from the law rather than the mob.
“There is a process for convicting police officers and citizens alike — and that process is NOT in the court of public opinion. Due process should be afforded to every citizen, and every police officer alike,” he added. “Police officers are not perfect. Their job is extremely dangerous, and sometimes they make mistakes. They should be held to account when they make mistakes, but they should also be appreciated for their incredible service.”
Cain also noted that the media played a role in convicting police officers in the court of public opinion, saying that all too often they participated in “fanning the flames” rather than in simply informing the public.
“I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: Many people and much of the media will vilify the police at the top of their lungs, but when their life is threatened and they need a hero, they will dial 911 and a police officer will show up,” Cain said. “Vilifying the police is wrong. Holding them to account, is paramount.”
“The better slogan would be to ‘defend the police,'” Cain continued, adding that it was all well and good to want better policing, but that the way to achieve that goal was through “better training, MORE money, and community-based policing.”
He cited Sir Robert Peel’s 9 Principles of Law Enforcement — principles which address the relationship between citizens and law enforcement officers — as a starting point. Peel, who established the London Metropolitan Police Force in 1829, touted a relationship based on police officers earning the respect and trust of the citizens by upholding the law evenly and exercising force only when absolutely necessary.
Peel was also an early proponent of community policing, as stated in the 7th Principle: “The police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Cain suggested that more people ought to take that 7th principle to heart, concluding, “If you’re unhappy with your local police force, join up!”