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Sacramento says no to defund trend, proposes ‘highest ever’ police budget

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Some may be asking themselves: Is there hope for California after all or is the proposed highest-ever police budget in Sacramento just another hypocritical liberal scam to only protect politicians?

Despite cries to “defund” the police across the country, Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan recently proposed an increase of $9.4 million to the City of Sacramento’s police department for a total annual budget of nearly $165.8 million, which would be in effect at the beginning of next fiscal year, July 1.

This may have come as an unexpected surprise to the Sacramento City Council which the Sacramento Bee reported last year unanimously voted to acknowledge, “generations of genocide, structural racism, and oppression.” The vote also expanded the meaning of “public safety.”

DeAngelo Mack, Public Health Advocates’ Director of State Policy had explained that the vote included “lifting [up] the voices of a community and young people, and their participation in changing public safety’s frame as a whole.”

But Sacramento Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela seemed confused about the latest move to increase the budget and told the Sacramento Bee, “to put more money into law enforcement when we’ve said as a city we want to move in another direction, it doesn’t line up.”

The latest proposal reveals that the police budget did get a haircut last year to the tune of about three-quarters of a million dollars.  However, the cut was largely due to pandemic-related reasons, including a decrease in false alarm permits since people spent more time at home last year, and not because of efforts to “defund” the police.

In July of 2020, a new city department was created, the Department of Community Response.  They intended to shift $10 million in police funding to the new department as part of the council’s police reform efforts. It seems it didn’t have the intended result.

Some of this year’s proposed increase is reportedly due to rising labor costs, both due to scheduled wage increases and the proposed addition of 5 officers. The addition will bring the total police staffing from about 1,098 to about 1,103 total, including 756 sworn positions, for the upcoming fiscal year. It’s possible that the new officers will join the force after watching a recruitment video from the reported Grammy-nominated Sacramento Police officer, who lures new police officer recruits through rap.


(Video: Sacramento Police Department)

There are also some additions to the budget that fits within the council’s vision to expand policing to more than just fire, police and emergency medical services by including $880,740 for portable radios and “less-than-lethal” equipment.

In the northern capital seat of the Golden State, Sacramento Police protect the city areas surrounding the state-owned capitol buildings and nearby state-run parks.  The Capital Protection Section of the Highway Patrol has jurisdiction over the 40-acre park where the State Capitol building sits.

Despite the many protests last year, a Bloomberg report shows that at least 24 major cities, including Atlanta, Omaha and Phoenix are actually increasing their police budgets this year like Sacramento.  The report also shows at least 18 cities, seemingly kowtowing to protestors’ demands, are slashing their police budgets.

It’s possible that the issue is more complicated than holding a sign and calling for police to be defunded.  After all, even protesters have been alleged to call the police when they get hurt during their own riots.

Responses to the increased police budget have brought skeptics claiming that the move might be political while many social media users seemed pleasantly shocked by the move.

 

Ashley Hill

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