At least 12 cities across the country have cut funding from police department budgets or decreased officer numbers and more are in the process.
According to Forbes, Seattle is the latest city to announce a defunding effort. On Tuesday, Seattle’s City Council passed a $3.5 million cut to the police budget and a downsizing of 100 officers. Police Chief Carmen Best resigned soon after.
New York also approved budget cuts this summer, despite significant pushback from the NYPD and police unions. The city cut $1 billion from its budget, reallocating $354 million to mental health, homelessness, and education services.
In California, both Los Angeles and San Francisco made budget cuts to their police departments. Los Angeles, which sports the third-largest department in the country, approved a $150 million budget cut from its $1.86 billion proposed budget. San Francisco approved a $120 million slash to its police and sheriff’s department and Oakland cut $14.6 million from its law enforcement budget.
Even the nation’s capital cut its police budget by $15 million earlier this summer. Other cities that have cut their police budgets include Baltimore; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia; Hartford, Conn.; Norman, Oklahoma; and Salt Lake City.
Many of these budget cuts are being done to move money back into social services that were cut after the 2008 housing crisis. With more people homeless and drug-addicted in the U.S. than a decade ago, millions of dollars have been taken from department budgets and are being poured back into homeless services, drug treatment, and other social issues.
The Trump administration and Republicans have fought against the law enforcement budget cuts. When Best resigned, Attorney General Bill Barr called the budget cuts irresponsible.
“This experience should be a lesson to state and local leaders about the real costs of irresponsible proposals to defund the police,” wrote U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr of Best’s resignation.
President Trump has also called out city and state leaders for cutting department budgets. Trump has also said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden supports defunding the police. However, Biden has said multiple times he does not support cutting law enforcement budgets.
.@NorahODonnell: “Do you support defunding the police?”
Former VP Joe Biden: “No, I don't support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”https://t.co/TvsHluVVSW pic.twitter.com/AuJiPyheX6
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 8, 2020