According to the New York Times, cities across American that saw their funding targeted last year are now seeing local leaders increase police spending as crime rises. They report that an “additional $200 million has been allocated to the New York Police Department and a 3 percent boost given to the Los Angeles force.”
In Dallas, where homicides have risen 25 percent in the last year to reach a two-decade high in line with police defunding there, funding cuts have now been reversed and the city is shifting its focus to the city’s crime hotspots. Dallas mayor Eric Johnson has stated his desire to restore police funding and bring more officers into the department. According to the Times, no one protested Johnson's proposal to increase funding, and few objected to their hiring of 250 officers.
Austin cut police spending last year by $150 million but has since restored the budget and “raised it to new heights.”
Meanwhile, in Burlington, Vermont, police budget cuts and a 30 percent reduction in the cap on its number of officers have backfired. The city is now offering $10,000 bonuses just to keep their officers from walking away from the job. Residents have said the defunding of the police department has made them feel less safe downtown.
In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan just announced that the state will invest a further $150 million in law enforcement as part of a “re-fund the police” initiative there. He has said that law enforcement agencies in the state are now struggling to recruit and retain qualified police officers thanks to defunding, criticism of the police and insufficient resources. He believes that more funding should be directed to law enforcement in order to maintain public safety.
He stated: “Thinking that you can improve law enforcement by defunding the police is like saying that you want to improve education by defunding the schools. It’s absurd and ridiculous.”
He added that now is really the worst time to cut funding as the violent crime seen in major cities around the country is pushing officers to quit or retire early while driving away recruits.
“To reverse the tide of rising crime, we need to stop demonizing and sabotaging the dedicated men and women who risk their lives every single day to keep the rest of us safe. Enough is enough,” he said.
He announced that $50 million of the funds would go toward police pay raises and bonuses, along with $45 million to help with recruitment and $24 million for body cameras and de-escalation training.
Interestingly, some democrats are going out of their way to distance themselves from the “defund the police” movement. Politico reports that a Democratic candidate for county sheriff in suburban Philadelphia, Mark Lomax, said in a TV ad: “In Bucks County, we need to keep our families safe. It starts with funding the police.” In another ad, Democratic district attorney candidate Antonetta Stancu says: “We know that to fight crime, we must fund the police.”
The news outlet reports that “numerous” Democrats have said the movement hurt their electoral prospects. It may also be a reaction to polling, which shows that just 18 percent of Americans now support the notion of defunding the police.
Sources for this article include: