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UFC heavyweight Walt Harris entering local politics

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Walt Harris is running for city councilor in Homewood, AL.

UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos v Edwards Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

11th ranked UFC heavyweight Walt Harris has decided to throw his hat into the political ring. According to the Homewood Star out of Homewood, AL, Harris is running for a spot on the city council.

On Instagram Harris discussed his decision to run and explained some of the reasoning why he decided to get into local politics.

“This is just another way to show my community of Homewood how much I love them and how grateful I am to have them in mine and my family’s lives,” he said.

Harris is running for a seat in Homewood’s Ward 3. If elected Harris hopes to continue efforts to revitalize one of the city’s major highways and improve the walkability of a local trail.

Another one of Harris’ goals is to get school resource officers into Ward 3 schools. School resource officers (SROs) are police officers who are posted inside of schools. These kinds of programs in the US, and Canada, are controversial with opponents alerting that the SROs are disproportionately placed in schools where large portions of students are from marginalized communities. Those opponents argue that the presence of SROs lead to the further oppression and alienation of marginalized students.

Psychology Today recently published an article analyzing the effects of SROs in US schools. They found that schools with SROs suspend students 67 percent more frequently than schools without SROs. That article stated that the increase in suspensions was because SROs ‘often elevate less serious incidents, treating a shove as a criminal assault.’

That report also cited studies that showed that students at schools with SROs are more likely to be expelled, score lower on standardized tests and face greater risk of more serious offenses.

Activists who call for a defunding of the police commonly cite SRO programs as police initiatives that can be cut, without doing harm to the communities in which they serve.

Slashing the Homewood police budget will not be on Harris’ agenda, should he be elected. “Defunding the police is not the answer,” he said.

Homewood’s general election takes place on August 25th.

Harris was last seen inside a UFC Octagon in the headliner for UFC on ESPN 8 at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fl. There he lost to Alistair Overeem by second round TKO.

That was Harris’ first fight since the murder and abduction of his daughter Aniah Blanchard. Ibraheem Yazeed was charged with Blanchard’s murder in November. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.