Sen. Kamala Harris said she thinks the country needs to "reimagine public safety" and direct public funds to underserved communities -- not necessarily get rid of law enforcement.
This comes at a time of unrest in the United States as protesters against racial injustice and police violence call for major reform.
"Understand that healthy communities are safe communities," the California Democrat told CNN on Tuesday. "I'm not saying get rid of police but we have to invest in the health and well-being of our communities."
Harris said factors like access to education, resources for businesses and access to health care all contribute to a "healthy community," and in turn, make for safer places that require a lower police presence.
"When you go to upper-middle class suburbs in America, you don't see that kind of police presence that you see in other neighborhoods, but what you do see are well-funded schools," she said. "What you do see are communities that have small businesses that have access to capital."
Harris said when cities spend nearly one-third of their budget on policing, "that's not a good return on investment for our taxpayers."
"If we want safe communities, we have to invest in the health and well-being and they will be safe," she said.