Police Departments across the country are in crisis as calls to defund the police, rioting, and the Covid Crisis threaten to sap existing resources.
A new study by the Police Executive Research Forum showed that almost half of the 258 departments surveyed are facing budget cuts. Portland City council approved a $15,000,000 dollar budget cut last month as the city struggled with riots. The Portland Police Department was forced to pay over $5,000,000 in overtime to deal with the unrest.
The Los Angeles Police Department budget will be cut by over $150,000,000. The money will be redirected towards funding programs for minority communities, including a youth jobs program.
The Seattle City Council has committed to cutting their police departments funding by half. SPD’s budget was already cut by $76,000,000 in mid July. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin criticized the Council’s plans “You can’t govern by twitter or bumper sticker. Community safety is too important. Too important not to have a thoughtful approach.”
Minneapolis City Council approved a proposal to eliminate the city’s police department in order to take a more “holistic” approach to policing.
In one of the largest moves, New York City will be cutting the NYPD’s budget by $1,000,000,000. In a press release New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm said “To the thousands of New Yorkers who so admirably fought for budget justice over the past several weeks: we heard you and we stand with you. We recognize that the City must move away from failed racist policing policies of the past.”
While these cuts are due in large part to the anti-police protests and riots that rocked the nation after the death of George Floyd, they also reflect a deep problem facing the country. With the economy so affected by the coronavirus pandemic, many states and cities are struggling financially.
The Tax Policy Center released a report stating that “Every state that has updated its (financial) forecast predicts a significant decline in revenue.” The report showed that “Among the 27 states for which we have data, Hawaii is facing the largest expected decline in tax revenues, due to the huge drop off in its tourism industry. States that heavily rely on energy taxes, such as Alaska, New Mexico, and Wyoming, also expect substantial revenue shortfalls.”
With the coronavirus hampering the US Economy and growing calls to “defund the police” state budgets in general and police forces in particular will continue to suffer.
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