Home Emergency Management News Defunding Police Agencies May Create New EMS Funding
Defunding Police Agencies May Create New EMS Funding

Defunding Police Agencies May Create New EMS Funding


By Allison G. S. Knox
Columnist, EDM Digest

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and after the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, communities have pondered whether or not to defund law enforcement as a means of reforming it. Communities will likely discuss whether or not this concept will work for their respective law enforcement agencies. The overarching argument contends that by defunding law enforcement agencies, law enforcement will change in a positive fashion, moving away from police brutality and discriminatory treatment.

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Defunding the police will shape the future of American law enforcement agencies and how suspects are treated. In addition, the discussion may be an important opportunity for ambulance agencies and how their funding is handled in the future.

Budgets for EMS Services Are Traditionally Tight

In recent years, emergency medical services have received little funding from their municipalities. As budgets tighten, emergency medical services often receive serious budget cuts that impact their equipment, training, recruitment and retention.

Also, first responder jobs could be affected by furloughs. For example, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recently projected that amid COVID-19, up to 30,000 jobs may be impacted as municipalities furlough their fire and emergency medical services employees.

Approaching Decision Makers

But if law enforcement agencies lose their funding right now, some of that funding could be redirected to emergency medical services to increase their budgets in the coming months.

Ultimately, the redistribution of funds will depend on EMS advocates and policymakers. If local governments defund their police departments, it will be very important for EMS leaders to approach these decision makers about redirecting funds towards other areas of public safety.  Support from law enforcement agencies toward moving funds to emergency medical services will be particularly helpful in redirecting the money allocated to public safety.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.