Former Arizona Democrat state Sen. Kirsten Engel, running for Arizona’s open Sixth Congressional District, appears to have a long history of supporting defunding the police.
Engle, during the general election debate in 2020 for Arizona state Senate District 10, showed support for the Defund the Police movement when asked about it by the moderator. The Democrat candidate explained that she would “agree” to shift some of the responsibilities and money away from the police.
The transcript of the debate question:
Moderator: Defund the police. Would you support a reduction in police budgets to fund social programs and including a shift in some of police responsibilities to social workers? Let’s start with you, Representative Engel.
Engel: Uh, yeah. Hank, the way you’ve asked that question, I agree with it. What I see is a shifting, what we need to do is shift where the money is going. Not every call to 911 requires a police officer to show up at your door. And we’ve had some bad situations when we have a police response to something that might be a mental health crisis. So, what I would support is some screening so that the appropriate personnel respond to the crises that right now the police are forced to respond to. [Emphasize added]
So yes, I would support a reallocation so that we get people who can handle the issues in our community with the expertise that they have. And these are mental health experts, behavioral health experts. We have a lot of drug abuse and drug addiction out there that we need to deal with. So yes, and we did ask for a special session on some of the police issues. We have issues of police departments not knowing about the disciplinary history of some police. So there are various things that we should be addressing. [Emphasize added]
Additionally, she opposed millions in law enforcement funding during her time as a state representative.
RealClearPolitics reported Engel, “in 2019 and 2020. … opposed greater funding for more vigorous border enforcement.” The report noted that she voted against legislation that would provide millions of dollars for the state’s Border Strike Force, which is a group of highly trained state troopers created in 2015 that help fight criminal activity in communities.
RealClearPolitics also noted that she opposed a resolution that would have recognized and thanked the U.S. Border Patrol and included Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) work as “critical to enforcing immigration law.”
Furthermore, Engel, on her campaign website, promotes a list of organizations that have endorsed her, including some radical groups that have actively supported defunding the police, such as Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Sierra Club, and NARAL.
As the Guardian explained, the call to “defund the police” has become a “rallying cry” at protests from activists who have long wanted to cut law enforcement budgets. In addition, community groups have advocated for defunding law enforcement by taking money away from police and prisons and reinvesting those funds in services.
“Advocates argue that defunding is the best way forward since attempts to reform police practices over the last five years have failed, as evidenced by the brutal killing of George Floyd,” the Guardian added.