San Diego City Council mulls $10 million cut to police budget, opposing Mayor’s proposed increase

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SAN DIEGO, CA – San Diego City Council is mulling a $10 million cut to the police budget in a defunding move the police union warns “spells disaster.”

On June 14, the San Diego City Council will vote on the 2022 budget and decide whether the cuts will go into effect.

Mayor Todd Gloria proposed a $4.6 billion budget in April with the intent of highlighting nonprofit and small business loans, building “sexy” streets, reducing police overtime, investing in the city’s Climate Equity Fund, and a focus on supporting the San Diego Convention Center.

The city council passed a $27 million increase to the SDPD last year, and Mayor Gloria proposed a $19 million increase this year. The City Council, however, has changed dramatically this year.

In May, racial justice activists called for cuts to the police budget and criticized the mayor’s proposed increase.

Mayor Gloria tried to calm the racial justice activists by proposing reforms to police policies when dealing with blacks and minorities. Changes include still limits on the use of “pretext stops,” when an officer stops someone for a minor violation with the intent to search for evidence of a larger crime.

Keara Piña, an advocate at the progressive think tank Center on Policy Initiatives, said the policy reforms were not enough:

“None of those are reflected in the proposed budget. So, I think to community members who have been advocating for this for a really long time, not seeing that funding behind that is disappointing.”

Last year, the council had only a slim Democratic majority of 6-3 when the SDPD budget increase was approved. This year, Councilman Chris Cate is the lone Republican.

The proposed $10 million cuts to the SDPD would be the first cut in ten years.

The City council previously warned the mayor that his budget proposal should redirect funds from policing to other areas.

A report on Gloria’s proposed budget issued April 30 from the Office of the Independent Budget Analyst noted that a majority of City Council members have called for “the reallocation of Police Department funding and the reassignment of services currently being conducted by law enforcement.”

The San Diego Police Foundation called the City Council’s cuts a move to “defunding, reimagining, or redesigning police, it spells disaster for the city.”

Sara Wilensky Napoli, President & CEO at San Diego Police Foundation, said that she wants to get the word out to the people that the budget vote is approaching, and asking residents to speak out:

“I think most San Diegans would be shocked to learn that there is a small but very loud effort right here in San Diego to defund SDPD. Mayor Gloria has put forward a budget that City Council should pass and support, including for its police department.

“The loud, late, uninformed, but few people to slice away $10 million dollars would be very destructive because SDPD already operates with a lower per capita number of officers than any other large city in the United States.”

Napoli said that when police budgets are cut at the last minute, the only area that can be reduced in a police department is the police academy, which in turn would reduce recruiting at a time when police shortages are hitting everywhere.

She also said the academy cuts would reduce the training and hiring that makes a police department effective.

SDPD is a forward-thinking and progressive police department that already instills much of the justice and police reforms being called for by activists across the country, Napoli said.

As an example, she pointed out that SDPD had body cameras before any other major city in the United States.

Napoli said that citizens can voice their support for SDPD and oppose the cuts by attending the City Council meeting via Zoom:

“If you want to make sure that your men and women in blue here in San Diego continue to protect and serve San Diego and keep it one of the safest large cities, this is the time to speak up.”

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LET Unity

San Diego’s plan to stop murders? They’ve asked gangs to stop shooting at each other for 6 months.

March 6, 2021

 

This article contains editorial content written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

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SAN DIEGO, CA – Apparently, San Diego city government and law enforcement leaders recently banded together to launch a pilot program dubbed as “No Shots Fired”, where they’re asking gang leaders and members to stop shooting at each other for six months. 

San Diego has been dealing with quite the rough patch when it relates to violent crime.

While the city had in the past been considered generally one of the safer large cities in the United States, 2020 saw a 28% uptick in gun violence and a 20% increase in people reporting gunfire to the San Diego Police Department.

Furthermore, gang activity has reportedly been responsible for 20% of all the city’s murders in the past three years.

As the adage goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

And one can’t get more desperate than groveling, which it seems like the city is resorting to with the “No Shots Fired” effort. 

Mayor Todd Gloria spoke about the “No Shots Fired” program on March 3rd, saying the following: 

“The recent increase of shootings in our city is cause for great concern, but it demands that we lean-in as a community rather than shy away.”

“The No Shots Fired program represents an important collaboration between the city, law enforcement and community that seeks to stop gun violence, promote peace and create safer neighborhoods for all of us.”

So here’s the long and short on this “No Shots Fired” program. 

The “No Shots Fired” program is being launched by the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the Community Assistance Support Team, local law enforcement and other various city partners. 

These groups will work together to organize “community walks”, engage in what they call “organized outreach”, organize shared meals, have basically Zoom meetings with gang members and also ask them to stop shooting at each other for six months. 

Obviously, the detailed plan as shared by officials went into a more in-depth breakdown of this effort, complete with enough optimistic phrasing and presentation that could make a Care Bear blush. 

City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe, the chair of the council’s Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods, was among those that thinks the “No Shots Fired” initiative might just work: 

“[T]he No Shots Fired Program is a step in the right direction to provide a policy solution that quells violence, promotes economic justice, and improves community policing relationships.”

I’ll say that there’s nothing inherently wrong with this sort of approach – as in asking people to stop shooting each other, and being hopeful that the effort would be successful. 

But, this isn’t exactly some brand new approach, as there’s been all sorts of “No Shots Fired” programs before across the country over the years. Heck, the city of Baltimore has something similar – although their program only asks for “ceasefire weekends”. 

If we’re being honest, these sort of ceasefire treaties with gang members and city officials don’t actually accomplish any true-to-form ceasefires. Sure, they might have some impact on reducing some violent crime…but they’re far from a pie in the sky success. 

Furthermore, gang culture and structure has evolved significantly over the years in a manner where there’s no longer just a couple of top-dog, shotcallers that can be amassed in one setting for peace treaty talks.

There’s only two places where these sort of ceasefire treaties work out perfectly: in the heads of naïve people; and in ’80s and ’90s movie plots. 

While I certainly hope that San Diego sees a complete adoption of the “No Shots Fired” program mantra by local miscreants, I’m not going to be shocked if the ceasefire calls aren’t adhered to in the area. 

 

 

 

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