Philadelphia May Cut $33 Million from Police Funding

A Philadelphia Police officer patrols under a bridge near a heroin encampment in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 2017. In North Philadelphia, railroad gulch as it is known, is ground zero in Philadelphiaüs opioid epidemic. The tracks and the surrounding property are owned and operated by …
DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images

The Philadelphia City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a fiscal year 2021 budget that would cut millions of dollars from police funding.

“The budget recommended for approval today by Council’s Committee of the Whole reduces funding for the Police Department by $33.3 million – which is $14 million more in reductions than Council and the mayor agreed upon last week,” the council’s website read.

The site continued:

The reduction in police spending calls for the following reforms inside and outside of the department:

  • Body cameras for police officers
  • Implicit bias training for police
  • Engage mental health professionals for police-assisted diversion
  • Equity Manager for the police force
  • Transfer funding for crossing guards ($12.3 million) and public safety enforcement officers ($1.9 million) to Managing Director’s Office (MDO)
  • Create a Deputy Inspector General for police-related investigations (in MDO)
  • Fund a Police Oversight Commission ($400,000 to MDO)
  • Additional funding for the Public Defender ($1.2 million)

The council also gave preliminary approval to funding police reform and investing “$20 million in affordable housing, another $25 million to reduce poverty and address disparities, and restores funding to the arts and culture community.”

“The $4.9 billion budget received approval from City Council’s Committee of the Whole today, a critical step prior to receiving first reading consideration by Council in its regular Meeting tomorrow,” the website read.

Also on Wednesday, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke tweeted that council members had a responsibility to reach an agreement on a budget:

Later, Clarke said he believed the council’s work with Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration would “address deep social ills and other reforms in city government which were magnified by the pandemic and unrest.”

“The lack of access to affordable housing, health care, living wage jobs and healthy foods has been exposed by these crises – along with many problems,” Clarke stated, adding that residents could not go back to that “old normal.”

“We need to create a ‘New Normal’ and address these disparities head on. I believe this budget is an important start towards doing that,” he concluded.

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