SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn delivered to the city council a proposed police budget of nearly $166 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year — an all-time high for the city.
“We have consistently been one of the lowest staffed departments in the country,” Hahn said.
Hahn says the additional $9.4 million for the next fiscal year pays for five new officer positions and safety needs following a year of increased violent crime.
“What impact this will have when we open up our communities after being shut-in for a little over a year, and everyone is extremely concerned about more increases in crime when that occurs,” Hahn explained.
The proposed price tag is getting strong pushback by some in the community who are calling for less police funding — $30 million less to match the budget of two years ago.
“The fear of crime happening does not justify an increase in the budget. Police don’t keep us safe. Communities keep us safe,” one caller said.
Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela, who represents District 4, is one of the council members in favor of bringing police spending down
“What we’re doing now is not working. We gave the department last year the most money that we’ve ever given them then and were still seeing the same increases in violent crime,” she said.
Daniel Savala, Executive Director of the Del Paso Blvd Partnership which represents hundreds of businesses in North Sacramento, thinks cutting back would be a mistake.
“Seeing a defunding of the police to that magnitude would be a disaster for neighborhoods like North Sacramento,” Savala said.
Savala says there’s been an uptick in low-level crime along Del Paso Boulevard that he says hurts business at a time it’s much needed. He hopes that more money in the police budget can pay for beefed up patrols and enforcement.
“We’re concerned for what’s happening now, and if you’re reducing the budget, it will only exacerbate the problem we’re seeing right now,” Savala said. “Right now, if you’re a small business owner on Del Paso Boulevard and you call the police, they’re likely not going to show up because of staff levels or an attitude like some these problems aren’t really enforceable.”
District 1 Councilwoman Angelique Ashby also acknowledged the need for more police in some areas.
“I’m asking you to consider the people who really feel like they don’t get their share of police services and resources,” she said.
As the price hike heads to a vote next month, Savala hopes the divided council considers something:
“You can have both. We can continue to make investments in law enforcement and technology and all the things that they need to get the job done and we can also make sure that they are held accountable,” he said.
A city council final vote will be held on June 15.