CINCINNATI — Defend, or defund? It's a hot-button topic when it comes to policing.
Current councilwoman and council candidate Betsy Sundermann is calling on all candidates for council to lay out how they feel about police, and public safety.
She put together a spread sheet, with responses from a handful running, to hone in on an issue that could define this year's local election.
"This election comes with one important question: Will we have a mayor and city council that is for defunding the police, or defending the police?" Sundermann asked.
Sundermann is making it a central focus of her campaign.
"What does defending the police mean? It means providing the necessary funding to keep our neighborhoods safe," she said.
Political strategist Jared Kamrass says public safety is a top issue in this year's election.
But he calls the "defend versus defund" narrative a "false flag."
"When you see folks try and come out and claim police are under attack, there's no evidence on that from anyone currently on council or anyone running for council next term," Kamrass said.
He says this type of division is used by candidates to cause fear and consolidate their base.
"I don't hear a lot of candidates, or serious credible candidates, for city council who are calling for defending the police. Where I mostly hear it is from candidates who want to position themselves as being the most pro police, accusing others of not being pro police enough."
In the mayoral race, both David Mann and Aftab Pureval say they do "support police."
It's worth noting that Kamrass' firm does represent some Democrats running for council.
Other defining issues he says to watch include jobs and economic recovery from the pandemic.
A reminder: early voting has begun. The hours vary by day at the Hamilton County Board of Elections office. Check your voting location here.
Election Day is November 2.