A soon to be released survey of 258 police departments nationwide shows almost half have had their budgets cut amid calls for police to be defunded despite increases in gun violence and otherwise violent crime in some parts of the country, according to USA Today.
The outlet was first to report that the Police Executive Research Forum publication, which is expected to be released in the coming days, shows cuts in the police budgets are largely being made to training, equipment.
Protesters are pushing to “defund the police” over the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.
Floyd died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, held his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite Floyd’s several shouts that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was handcuffed at the time.
Some city, state and local budgets were already at risk even before the demonstrations and after funds were exhausted in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A demonstrator holds a sign that reads “Defund the police” during a protest march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups, on July 30, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
It’s the first time agencies have seen such budget threats since the 2008 economic disaster, the forum’s executive director Chuck Wexler told the outlet.
“Unfortunately, the situation this time is only certain to get worse because of the pandemic’s resurgence and the convergence of the defund police movement,” Wexler told USA Today. “It’s a combustible mixture for police departments because reform is often achieved by hiring a next generation of officers and acquiring new technology that can assist their work. The unintended consequence of these times is that those reforms will now be held back.”