‘Who will protect our children?’: Top law enforcement officials react to calls to ‘defund the police’

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – For weeks now, we’ve heard cries to ‘defund the police’ and reallocate money. Protesters have called for a new era of policing.

ABC4 News spoke with high-ranking members of law enforcement to get their thoughts on the demands.

“This extensive, expensive operation brings into focus how ludicrous the demands and chants of the activists are,” U.S. Attorney John Huber said. “This type of operation shows how ridiculous the demands are to defund the police — to defund law enforcement. Who will protect our children in such a bizarre counter universe?”

The U.S. attorney was referring to “Operation Reboot” in which law enforcement from across the state, cracked down on sex offenders who were “not abiding by sex offense registry laws,” and “trying to evade law enforcement.”

Law enforcement said if police departments were defunded, these perpetrators could be left wandering the streets and pose a risk to the community.

“If we were defunded I don’t know who would be doing these checks or who would be registering the local registrants,” Detective Tammy Thacker, with the Heber City Police Department, told ABC4’s, Brittany Johnson.

Heber City Police Department was one of 11 agencies to participate in “Operation Reboot.” Thacker said her police department is like many others, in that they do not have ample funding to perform sex offender crackdowns on a regular basis.

The operation was made possible with funding from the U.S. Marshals.

“Nights, weekends, overtime, long hours. “Those things are often cut when you talk about police budgets being cut right now. And that’s what this type of operation requires; nights, weekends door to door,” explained Matt Harris, U.S. Marshal for the District of Utah.

Taking away money from child sex crimes, which is an area of already tight for cash, is something that doesn’t bode well with U.S. Attorney John Huber.

“This operation is a classic example of why that argument to defund the police is outrageous,” Huber said.

“We try not to get involved in the political cells that are going on in the winds. We just try to stay focused on what we need to do when it comes to keeping our citizens safe,” said Thacker.

“Despite the noise that’s going on in our communities, cops are the good guys, and this is the type of work that good guys do,” Harris said.

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