Reallocation of Police Funds

Reallocation of Police Funds

The many killings of unarmed African American residents by police officers during 2020 have increased national awareness of the consequences of forceful over-policing tactics in predominantly Black communities. These senseless deaths have prompted a burgeoning call to “Defund the Police” –of which, chanting echoes can be heard across the nation. Although the differentiated interpretation of its meaning and purpose – reallocation vs.dismantle – has persisted, the defund the police messaging has led to honest national conversations and debates on federal, state, and local funding for police departments. According to a Popular Democracy report, between 20% and 45% percent of local municipality discretionary funding is allocated toward law enforcement departments. A Bloomberg report found that since 1977, the United States’ policing budget has nearly tripled to $115 billion, despite the decrease in crime.2 In another report examining state and local budgets spanning 60 years, Bloomberg found no significant relationship between increased police budgets and a crime reduction.

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Reallocation of Police Funds
Reallocation of Police Funds

Key Observations

  • Police shootings during 2020 have increased national awareness of the consequences of forceful over-policing tactics in predominantly Black communities.
  • The defund the police messaging has led to honest national conversations and debates on federal, state, and local funding for police departments.
  • Between 20% and 45% percent of local municipality discretionary funding is allocated toward law enforcement departments.
  • Since 1977, the United States’ policing budget has nearly tripled to $115 billion, despite the decrease in crime.
  • No significant relationship has been found between increased police budgets and  crime reduction.
Reallocation of Police Funds

Recommendations

  • Prioritize proportional allocation of budgets to police and social service-related agency types for improved community services develop partnering relations in municipalities with community mental health and social service agencies to tailor intervention services.
  • Establish partnerships with local colleges or research experts to measure the quality and quantity of police-citizen contact requiring specialized social and mental health services. 
  • Fund programs and initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that provide employment and training opportunities, after-school youth programs, and educational opportunities for people in disenfranchised communities.
Reallocation of Police Funds
Reallocation of Police Funds

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