RoboCop is, without a doubt, a ridiculous movie. It's a story that asked the question, "What if the Six Million Dollar Man had a gun and used it to shoot bad guys in the dick?"
RoboCop is filled with absurd plot points, but if recent events have taught us anything, the most ridiculous plot point in RoboCop is that any major city's police department would be UNDERfunded.
It's the central premise that kicks off the entire movie. The city of Detroit grants Omni Consumer Products control of an already underfunded police force, then continues to drain the department of funding in favor of their own robot initiatives like ED-209 and RoboCop. Eventually, the Police are so underfunded and so short-staffed that they go on strike.
In reality, we'd have to flip our entire society on its head to get to this point. In 2019 Detroit budgeted $321,681,648 for the police department. That accounted for 29.4% of the city's total budget. Meanwhile, silly notions like housing and economic development accounted for a measly combined 4%. But this isn't all too different from most cities in America. "According to a 2017 analysis by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, Detroit spent $727 per capita in 2017, close to the average of $747 and slightly above the median of $699."
It's hard to put in perspective just how far off we are as a country from an underfunded police force. It's basically our most funded thing. It'd be like trying to imagine if the Yankees were underfunded. Does it mean they're broke? Or does it mean they just can't afford to sign Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract? Can they even afford cleats anymore? Or does it just mean they're the Padres now? What does it even look like?!
But the actual dollars and cents part of the "funding" is just one part of it. Police receive billions of dollars worth of military equipment from the government for free because of a program called 1033. It transfers the military's extra or outdated gear to any local authorities who apply for it, the only cost being the price of shipping. The program started in 1997 presumably because Bill Clinton was too stoned to understand the point of RoboCop, or maybe just because he didn't care, but either way, we have this now:
So if RoboCop got anything wrong, it is simply that it assumed the excessive expenditures on policing would come from corporations rather than the government. Who'd have thought that the status quo would make a place like OmniCorp look redundant?
Top Image: Orion Pictures