In the wake of police protests and riots in Sacramento the city proposed a budget that would give the Sacramento Police Department a $10 million dollar budget increase which would go into effect on July 1st.
The Police budget needs to be increased for a variety of different reasons according to Timothy Davis, President of The Sacramento Police Officers Association. Davis mentioned a need for more staffing, hiring CSO’s, and more police vehicles.
However, with all the protests in Sacramento it begs the question of whether or not this is what the people want. City Council member Katie Valenzuela is openly opposed to the budget increase. “The police spend time and resources performing several functions that they should not be doing, such as homeless and mental illness response. They also have invested in militarizing themselves against their citizens, including significant investments in urban tanks, riot gear, and other equipment not necessary or appropriate for use in our communities,” said Katie.
Valenzuela believes that the police department is already given more money than they need and that the money could be put to better use elsewhere. “I’d rather see much more money come out of the police budget to cover essential community needs. Using $10 million as an example, though, that could fund 40, 24-hour teams to do homeless outreach – meaning five teams per council district – including a mental health professional, social worker, and formerly homeless person to build relationships and trust. That would make a huge impact on our ability to plan for and deliver meaningful services to help folks get the treatment they need and get off the streets, and makes a lot more sense than funding police to move encampments around,” said Valenzuela.
Hopefully City Council will do what is best for the Sacramento community before the budget goes into effect on July 1st.