Written for Fox News on July 19, 2020

As law enforcement officers and protesters continue to clash on streets in cities across the country, New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is calling for the protection of the police.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Stefanik stated Saturday that, amidst the din, there is “a lot of work” to do to address race relations in America and tackle police reform.

“Well, we have a lot of work, and there are proposals that have been put forth. Tim Scott has been leading the JUSTICE Act, which I’m a co-sponsor of. We need to increase funding for training, outreach to the community,” she said.

According to Stefanik, what is “not the answer” is defunding or redistributing the funds of police departments.

“Our police are needed in the communities that are being hurt the most right now, where you are seeing the most violence. So, we need to defend the police, not defund the police,” she asserted. “And, really look at how we can have positive change and that’s by increasing our training, that’s by increasing our community outreach. Not turning our backs on hardworking law enforcement.”

Some Democratic leaders like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have already committed to defunding their departments. Going a step further, the city council of Minneapolis has moved to replace police with a “holistic” public safety force. On Wednesday, Berkeley, Calif., moved forward with a proposal to eliminate police from conducting traffic stops, with the goal of cutting the police budget by 50 percent.

At the beginning of the month, New York City lawmakers voted on budget changes that shifted $1 billion from the NYPD to programs that assist in youth and community development.

“You know, there has been footage of the just horrible, horrible statements made to our African-American law enforcement officers,” Stefanik remarked.

“There is no tolerance for racism in this country and we absolutely need to root out bad actors like the case of George Floyd’s murderers. But, we shouldn’t be turning our backs on police which unfortunately we are seeing in New York City today,” she said.

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