A new city budget includes a four million dollar cut from the police department.
What We Know:
- Mayor Tishaura Jones proposed a new city budget that takes funding from the police budget and allocates the money to other causes. This action aligns with her commitment to her promise to change the city’s approach to law enforcement and crime. Two St. Louis jails have a projected savings of $7.8 million due to the budget. $1.3 million of that budget will go towards social workers and other services aimed at helping jail detainees return to society.
- The total budget for the police department was $171 million this fiscal year. It directs the newly available funds to affordable housing, a victims’ services program, homeless aid, and civil rights litigators. Interim Public Safety Director Daniel Isom is a former St. Louis police chief and says that although it is a significant shift, it is the direction our country is going in.
- Jones was elected mayor of the city in April. She is the first black woman to hold the title of mayor. Congresswoman Cori Bush issued support for Mayor Jones’ proposal in April. The Board of Estimate and Apportionment voted 2-1 in favor of the cuts.
- Jones’ goal is to “address the root causes of crime and support the victims of crime as well as those who have been underserved and underrepresented.” Included in the cuts is $3 million in salary and benefits. The money was previously reserved for about 100 positions that have been vacated for at least 12 years. Bush has said her team is building a St. Louis where the schools are funded, and unhoused neighbors can be sheltered.
Several groups have criticized the move, citing the amount of violent crime in the city.