JTN: Some Democratic cities that once sought to defund their police departments are now reversing course — some by their own volition, some under pressure from Republican governors or citizen-led initiatives.
The course corrections come as major cities have experienced more officers resigning or retiring and losing new recruits amid escalating crime and political vilification of police.
In Texas, the Democrat-led Austin City Council voted last August to cut funding for the Austin Police Department by $150 million, slashing a range of services that one year later have proven to be sorely missed. Last month, the department announced it was no longer responding to non-life-threatening emergency 911 calls, and its homicide rate spiked.
In response, a citizen-led movement collected enough signatures for a petition that resulted in adding a November ballot measure to restore police funding.
The state’s Republican Legislature and governor, meanwhile, countered with a new law that would impose a range of penalties on large municipalities acting to defund police, including a provision that would divert a portion of the sales tax proceeds from offending cities to defray the costs of policing by the state’s Department of Public Safety.
At a recent press conference, Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced the state was investing $150 million in a “re-fund the police” initiative. His plan includes targeted funding for pay raises and bonuses, recruitment, funding for equipment and training, and a range of funding for services and grants, as well as a boost in funding for the Maryland Chiefs and Sheriffs Association. read more