U.S. Cities Adding Funding to Police Departments
January 12, 2023
Night after night, hundreds of people marched the streets of Oregon’s largest city, demanding racial justice after the murder of George Floyd by a white officer.
Among the rallying cries were “defund the police” — a call for elected officials to reallocate some law enforcement funding elsewhere. In June 2020, the Portland City Council and the mayor answered by cutting millions from the police budget.
Now, a year and a half later, officials partially restored the cut funds. On Wednesday, the Portland City Council unanimously passed a fall budget bump that included increasing the current $230 million police budget by an additional $5.2 million. The added police spending is occurring amid a year of a record number of homicides, the city’s greatest police staffing shortage in decades and reform recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Justice.
CJR Director Dr. Howard Henderson says, “The defund-the-police movement spearheaded an opportunity for historically disenfranchised and historically under-resourced communities to express their continued discontent with policing.”
“The folks who live in these high-crime communities …. they don’t want to get rid of police altogether,” Henderson said. “What they want to do is get rid of bad policing.”
“At the end of the day was it the best phrase? Maybe it was? Maybe it wasn’t?” Henderson said. “But at least we’re talking about it.”
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