Sacramento, CA

Sacramento residents disagree on increasing the police budget

Robert J Hansen
People’s Budget Sacramento demanded the police budget be lowered by $30 million at a press conference in Sacramento on May 18, 2021.Robert J Hansen

Sacramento, Calif. --

Many Sacramento residents called-in and voiced their support or opposition to the City Council’s proposal to increase the police department’s budget by nearly $10 million during the May 25 city council meeting.

The People’s Budget Sacramento has demanded that the police department’s budget be reduced by $30 million and is supported by council members Katie Valenzuela and Mai Vang.

Mervin Brookings, a founder of Mentoring Brother 2 Brother, supports the budget increase but also acknowledged that there are concerns with law enforcement that need to be addressed.

Brother 2 Brother is an organization mentoring at-risk African American male youths, was one of many residents who spoke at last night’s meeting.

“Let’s have real conversations about police reform,” Strother said. “I know the defund the police mantra may be popular and sound progressive but it’s not practical.”

Council members’ annual salary will increase from $91,915 to $96,257. The Mayor's raise is $136,789 to $145,440. City Manager Howard Chan is getting a raise from $308,016 to $372,700 according to the Sacramento Bee.

Chan is also paid $500 per month for a car, $100 per month for his smartphone and $400 for monthly expense allowance.

People’s Budget Sacramento wants $30 million less than the $10 million increase proposed by City Manager Howard Chan, a difference of $40 millon.

Compared to the City’s entire budget, it is marginal at most. A marginal change in spending is not likely enough to make the significant changes to law enforcement the people on both sides of the debate are wanting.

Issues related to the failings of the justice system and the growing homeless population are inescapabl and the problems related to mental health, addiction and low-level theft has made some people turn to the police as the solution.

David Ingram, district four resident, told the council that he has witnessed heroin use in public, gun shots, explosions and prostitution near his house. According to Ingram, the Sacramento Police has been the only help he has received about the crime around his house.

Ingram’s comments, truthful or not, nonetheless speaks to the unrest felt by residents throughout Sacramento county.

Chief Hahn said that homicides, fatal collisions and injury collisions are all higher at this time last year than they were last year.

Hahn said the budget increase is necessary in order to properly address the growing safety risks to the communit.

The average number of emergency calls handled by each police officer has increased and the median response time is over ten minutes per emergency according to Hahn.

Hanh said there have been over 620 injury traffic collisions this year already.

In February, an East Sacramento woman called to report that her ex-boyfriend burned their vehicle, threatened to kill her, and was possibly armed. She also had a restraining order against him.

He took police on a high speed chase through residential neighborhoods and was later arrested.

suggests restaining orders, probation and porol and sentencing failures may be contributing to issues voiced by the committe.

Dr. Corrine Mcintosh Sako, a clinical psychologist and resident of district seven said public safety isn’t about policing. According to Mcintosh Sako public safety is about access to quality housing, quality food, and health care services including mental health.

“If people are able to meet their basic needs, they wouldn’t have to resort to breaking the law,” Macintosh Sako said.

Sacramento City council is scheduled to adopt their budget June 15 and would begin July 1.

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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