The Christian Science Monitor

Defund the police? Europeans redirect them.

Marc-Oliver doesn’t carry a gun. Instead he relies on a baton, his wits, and years of training.

One of Germany’s ubiquitous officers of the ordnungsamt, or office of public order, Marc-Oliver says he has prevented a suicide with “my bare hands.” Another time, he disarmed a man wielding a knife by talking to him calmly, while his partner sidled in with pepper spray.

“Sometimes, it would be better to have a weapon,” says Marc-Oliver, using a pseudonym since he is not authorized to speak publicly. “I am scared on the job sometimes, but fear makes you careful. It makes you rational.”

Meet Germany’s municipal guardians of public safety, responsible for duties ranging from noise and crowd control to animal welfare and help for homeless people. They don’t organize drug busts or investigations, which do not carry lethal weapons.

From representing oppression to representing civiliansAttack causes, not symptomsA job that’s like a chocolate egg

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