The city is poised to reduce its police budget by $3 million and invest that money in creating a non-police crisis community response team, add funding to homeless services and youth programs and expand its violence prevention office.
In a contentious meeting, a majority of the City Council voted Tuesday to have staff allott $6.83 million next year for those programs and services, combining cuts to the police department and vehicle purchasing budgets as well as excess funding left from this year.
It’s a move that proponents see as an investment in the community and an effort to stabilize people with services to help them access housing, mental health support, jobs and other resources. That, advocates say, will increase public safety.
“What I’m seeing as a commonality is financial crisis — people struggling to make ends meet,” Willis said. He believes these investments in social services will help.
Councilmembers Claudia Jimenez, Eduardo Martinez and Gayle McLaughlin agreed, all signaling their support for one of six funding options presented to them by city staff to incorporate into the budget, which needs to be finalized by the end of June.
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