Political Thoughts: Journal Entry #1 - Defunding the Police

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

I know defunding the police is a big topic right now, so I thought y’all might find this interesting.

Attached you will find a few screenshots from the City of Dallas - City Hall’s Summary of Services by Department webpage. Link —> https://dallascityhall.com/departments/budget/financialtransparency/AnnualBudget/FY2019-20Budget/Summary%20of%20Services%20by%20Department.pdf

I initially set out to look at the Dallas Police Department’s budget, which you can find in Image 1. In that screenshot, I also included budget information for Dallas Fire-Rescue since their budget is massive too. Additionally, I included Court and Detentions Services and Animal Services because they were right there in the screenshot anyway and I figured the added context would be nice.

Now, I think that abolishing the police is a terrifying notion, but I want to clarify something. Most people aren’t advocating for the complete dissolution of law enforcement entities. If my understanding of the situation is correct, people are asking for a reassessment and realignment of our funding priorities when it comes to law enforcement entities.

See for yourself. DPD’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year is $516,967,195, and their planned budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $542,487,534. Dallas Fire-Rescue’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and their planned budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal years are $317,747,118 and $324,828,336, respectively.

I believe people want more transparency in regards to how government funding works year-over-year. I also believe people want reform as it pertains to how inefficient spending can become when trying to grow and scale departmental budgets.

I’m admittedly not sure where I stand on this issue because there are a lot of people that would be left defenseless without a strong police presence. Furthermore, I’m a data guy, so until I better understand some of the bigger numbers at play, I’m just not sure. But one thing seems clear to me… There’s a lot of room to better channel the money that is currently being funneled into the pockets of law enforcement agencies.

Granted, we seriously need to consider what we’re gaining and losing with respect to safety. Having covered the law enforcement and crime beats briefly within Dallas, I know that the City was already experiencing a labor shortage in the law-enforcement space… For this reason, I can’t help but wonder how defunding will impact labor forces and crime rates nationwide.

For more general budget info, check out Images 2 through 8 in the gallery below, or just check the link above.

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