Letter to the editor: We should know where politicians stand on defunding the police
Last updated 7/8/2020 at 11:19am
Recent statements from our local elected politicians appear to indicate they will not cut law enforcement budget. But what will they really do? Here are quotes from Mayor Gregerson and Snohomish Councilwoman Dunn to my inquiries. Note: 400-word limit prevents providing full quotes.
Mayor Gregerson – “Defunding the police is not on the City's agenda. It is not something I am bringing forward to the Council or discussing with staff … However, if we need to make cuts in the 2021 budget, I would not exempt the department. I would ask for equal or nearly equal cuts to all departments...”
Councilwoman Dunn – “I support reducing funds to the Sheriff and Corrections office and investing in programs that address the underlying/root problems and investing in research based programs that promote public safety. The Sheriff and Corrections department receive over 50% of our general funds while Human Services and community prevention receives around 1%, therefore, I will continue to work with the Sheriff’s department to reduce expenses and invest in community safety programs and human services…”
How do equal cuts to all departments adequately address budget shortfalls? Shouldn’t they allocate sufficient funds to the most important functions, particularly safety? If the budget was properly allocated in the first place, how could law enforcement have “fat?” Will law enforcement be defunded through a “death by a thousand cuts?” Shouldn’t we cut politicians’ salaries and overhead first?
At least two on our City Council, Mr. Harris and Ms. Crawford, indicated their support for defunding police in Mr. Harris’ June 11, 2020 Facebook posting. We are entitled to a public pronouncement from each of our County and City politicians regarding how much they are willing to cut law enforcement now and, in the future, and a detailed accounting of how our protective services will be impacted.
We expect our elected officials to assure our safety. If law enforcement is cut, then cut it for our politicians first. The Minneapolis City Council defunded police and then spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in private security for themselves.
Will shifting money from law enforcement to social programs improve your safety? Do you want a social worker to respond if you are a real or potential victim of violent crime? Do social services prevent crime most effectively, or do law enforcement? You, too, can wake up with “CHOP” outside your door. Speak out for your community’s safety. Hold politicians accountable.