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Defunding police isn’t solution, Senate candidate Mark Kelly says

(Facebook Photo/Mark Kelly Campaign)

PHOENIX – Taking money away from police departments is not a recipe for community success, but changing enforcement tactics is, Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly of Arizona said.

“That is not the approach we need,” Kelly said Friday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on calls to defund police. “We need reform of policing.”

Protesters in Phoenix marched against the Minnesota police-custody murder of George Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed black man, for the 15th straight day Thursday.

Calls for defunding police — moving government funding from law enforcement to community services — have been loud around the country.

“We have some deep systemic issues here with racism in the country, and we’ve got to demand accountability,” Kelly said.

“There needs to be a justice system that doesn’t discriminate against anyone because of their race, but I do no agree that we should defund the police.”


The son of two police officers, Kelly said he understands the difficulty of the job.

“There are common-sense things we can do to get to the point where we don’t see situations like this repeatedly in our country.”

Kelly listed more transparency and independent oversight as examples of potential corrective measures, utilizing deescalation and “also, [determining] when is it appropriate to escalate?”

Body cameras are critical, he said.

“There’s a lot that can be done here. It should have been done decades ago,” Kelly said.

The 56-year-old former astronaut is running for the seat held by Republican Martha McSally.

He hasn’t participated in any of the peaceful protests. Kelly said he and his campaign staff have been following social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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