Activists who pushed for local governments to defund their police departments last year may be disappointed that according to a New York Times report, many cities across the country have restored their police budgets. In the article “A Year After ‘Defund’, Police Departments Get Their Money Back,” the publication states that cities such as New York and Los Angeles have increased their funding for their respective police departments.
The Times reports that the NYPD’s budget, which City Council cut $1 billion from last summer, will increase by $200 million. The City Council in Los Angeles transferred nearly $89 million from police services to homeless initiatives, education and job trainings and anti-gang programs. But the LAPD is getting a three percent raise this year.
An uptick in crime in major cities is the reason, The Times states, many local leaders have gone from slashing funds to restoring them. Politics and poor retention rates by officers were also listed as deciding factors. Austin, Texas has completely restored its police department’s budget after decreasing funds last year, and Burlington, Vermont cut its police budget last year but is now offering $10,000 bonuses to officers to stay employed. The Times article focuses on the city of Dallas, where Mayor Eric Johnson has proposed to restore funds for the departments within his city and placing more police officers on the streets.
Laura Cooper, the executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, told The Times that “Dallas stands out for the amount of investment that the local government is putting into the department.”
The Dallas City Council voted to take $7 million in overtime from the Dallas Police Department and spend it on other public safety initiatives. However, last month, the Council approved a $4.3 billion budget that included a $10 million increase for police overtime. With the budget increase, the city hopes to add 250 officers to its force, after it lost nearly 800 policemen, according to a Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth report. The city’s murder rate reached a two-decade high last year and is on track to surpass that amount if the current rate of homicides continues.
Part of the $4.3 billion budget, The Times reports, will be allocated to police intervention alternatives, including specialized units that are trained to take 911 calls from people with mental health issues.