Orange County: Power of police unions, whether funding will shift away from law enforcement

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Residents protested police violence on June 1, 2020 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Gustavo Arellano.

The police union is a powerful force in Orange County. That’s where they’ve helped fuel the ouster of Santa Ana City Councilwoman Ceci Iglesias, who resisted a pay raise for police officers. And discretionary spending in the OC has doubled for the Sheriff’s Department in the past decade, while funding for other public services has decreased.

But could the tide be turning in Orange County away from robust funding of law enforcement toward other services? 

Writer Gustavo Arellano says that remains to be seen, but the protests in OC are unprecedented and in the most unlikely neighborhoods. “You’re seeing protests against police brutality and for Black Lives Matter, and this, in a county, where only about 2% of the population is African American. It’s absolutely historic.”

“You’re seeing protests against police brutality and for Black Lives Matter. … It’s absolutely historic,” says Gustavo Arellano. Photo by Gustavo Arellano.