Letter: Indiana GOP defunded the police

From: Steve Schoettmer

Elizabethtown

Remember last year when we all saw those TV and online ads claiming all Democrats wanted to “defund the police”? Those ads were paid for by the Indiana Republican Party and Super PACs aligned with them. It didn’t matter if the office had a thing to do with law enforcement. If a Democrat was on the ballot last year, Republicans would demonize them as enemies who wanted to cause mayhem in our communities.

But as we’ve learned in church and in grade school many times over the years, it’s always best to watch what people do rather than what they say. And as it turns out, what Indiana Republicans preach doesn’t hold a candle to their actions.

Twice this year, Indiana Republicans have shown they don’t actually “back the blue." Following the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, Republicans like Jim Baird, Jim Banks and Todd Young — all veterans — voted against a commission to get to the bottom of a domestic terrorist attack against the United States of America.

On top of that, Republicans like Jackie Walorski, Larry Bucshon, Trey Hollingsworth, and Mike Braun all voted “NO” on the American Rescue Plan, which provides $350 billion for law enforcement to recruit new officers and fight crime in our cities and towns. Victoria Spartz voted “NO” on providing police officers in her district bonuses they earned while protecting Hoosiers during COVID-19.

Let’s also be clear: the one thing Republicans in state government got accomplished  — the criminal justice law — wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (the lawmakers they booed) pushing the effort to get it done.

The Indiana Republican Party’s actions should tell us they would rather stand on their soapbox and repeat Fox News talking points than actually deliver for Hoosiers. Well, the Democrats know their job.

It’s getting things done — and the record is now rightfully showing that it’s Indiana Democrats who’ve delivered for police officers and first responders — our heroes — every step of the way.