Sacramento coalition demands at least $30M of police department funds be used for community programs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The People’s Budget Sacramento coalition rallied Tuesday morning, asking for more money to be put into programs that directly impact and help the local community.

But it means reducing millions from areas like the Sacramento Police Department.

“The foundation and principle of the People’s Budget is simple,” said leaders at the event.

Representatives of the Sacramento Homeless Union, JUICE Sacramento and other community organizations are joining alongside the People’s Budget to pass along the message.

“Residents deserve more of a voice in how our money is spent,” the People’s Budget said.

To diversify Sacramento’s current budget plans, the coalition is asking that more funds be focused on community response, public input on budget hearings and programs that would help solve the current homeless and housing crisis — issues they feel have fallen at the wayside because of spending on law enforcement.

“In the city of Sacramento, the police and fire departments take up almost two-thirds of our $678 million general fund,” local community leaders said.

In May, the city manager’s office called for an increase to the Sacramento Police Department’s budget by $9.4 million, raising the total budget to what would be a record-setting of $166 million.

“We’re really understaffed, especially in our patrol division, which means that every day we’re having people to work overtime to fill vacancies in that division,” said Tim Davis, Sacramento police officers association president.

In an interview, Davis told FOX40 those funds would help their staffing issues and that more police services are what the public wants — something Mayor Darrell Steinberg has previously agreed with.

“A status quo budget will not help our communities and address the racial inequities that exist today,” the People’s Budget said.

Other members of the city council say otherwise.

“The more we spend on law enforcement, the less we spend on intervention on youth, on housing, the more we say ‘Gosh, look at these crises. Look at these calls for help. We better spend more on law enforcement,'” said councilmember Katie Valenzuela. 

Councilmember Valenzuela says she and the People’s Budget are calling for at least a $30.5 million reduction in the proposed budget for police spending.

FOX40 reached out to the mayor and the police department for comment and did not hear back.

The council will discuss the overall budget at their meeting Tuesday evening and they are scheduled to specifically discuss the public safety budgets May 25, including Sacramento Police Department budget.

The city council is scheduled to vote on the budget June 15.

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