Local government to let people decide whether to defund police

One California county has just taken a step towards defunding its law enforcement.

Fox News reports that Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors is going to let residents decide whether to implement a measure that would take $880 million away from the county’s law enforcement. 

It’s happening

The board, in a 4-1 vote, agreed to put the measure on this November’s ballot. The measure, called, “Reimagining L.A. County: Shifting Budget Priorities to Revitalize Under-resourced and Low-income Communities,” would amend the city’s charter.

According to Breitbart, the measure asserts that there is “systemic discrimination, exclusion, and inequity” that results in “racial injustice” and “racial inequity.”

The measure looks to combat these problems by taking at least 10 percent of net county cost away from law enforcement. This would amount to $880 million.

The proposal, according to Breitbart, states:

Ensure that the ordinance containing the proposed charter amendment is clear that the use of any of these earmarked funds for carceral systems and any law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, L.A. County Superior Courts, or L.A. County Probation Department, including redistribution of funds through these agencies, is strictly forbidden.

A new era of policing?

The $880 million would be reallocated.

“If passed by voters, the charter amendment would allocate funds to be spent in a number of broad categories, including youth development programs, job training for low-income communities, access to capital for minority-owned businesses, rent assistance and affordable housing, community-based health services and jail diversion programs,” the local Fox affiliate reports.

Advocates of the defund the police movement believe that redirecting money into these areas will cut back on crime, obviating the need for police.

Local Sheriff Alex Villanueva, however, has said that if the measure is adopted by the people of LA County, he would be forced to make several cuts to public safety. He also said that the employees likely to lose their jobs will be disproportionately African American and Latino, since “the last hired are the first fired.”

Reality check needed

We believe that this whole approach to crime is nothing more than wishful thinking, that the obvious effect of defunding police departments will be an increase in crime and a concomitant decrease in public safety.

But, it’s up to the people of LA County now. We’ll have to see what they decide come November.

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