By Dennis Turner
Jun 08, 2020
City leaders across the country have begun talking about taking money out of police budgets and putting into community programs, aimed at lessening the need for police.
The idea of taking money from police budgets and spending it in communities, especially marginalized ones, started long before protests over George Floyd.
Now, it’s got the mayor of New York City taking action.
“Based on the suggestions of the caucus, based on the work of the task force, that we will be moving funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
DeBlasio wants to take some of his more than $5 billion budget for police and spend it elsewhere.
From New York to Chicago, the talk has gained ground as an idea worth considering.
“We have been pouring more and more resources into our police forces and we are not any safer than we were before. This is about imagining what a public safety effort looks like that is community led,” said Elizabeth Jordan of ACLU Illinois.
The Chicago Police Department’s budget is $1.78 billion. The city’s total budget $11.65 billion. One alderman wants to take some of her police department’s cash and spend it in neighborhoods.
“We have to consider how much money are we willing to continue to spend in an institution that is definitely not working for most of us. I think it is a beautiful time to imagine what is possible,” said Alderman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez of the 33rd Ward.
So the talk is real in all three of the nation’s biggest cities. The mayor of Los Angeles said he’ll cut 100 to 150 million dollars out of his police department’s budget.
Nobody in Texas has called for defunding police, but as cities have begun to prepare their budgets for the fall, police budgets may get a closer look than usual in some places.