Police budgets are squeezing out funding for other essential state and city services

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Demonstrators gathered in front of the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice to protest District Attorney Jackie Lacey. About 10,000 people protested police violence, the proposed LA city budget of 54% to the LAPD, and the death of George Floyd. Photo by Brian Feinzimer/KCRW

Calls across the country to defund law enforcement have prompted some city leaders to pledge to cut police budgets. In LA, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to strip up to $150 million from the LAPD’s budget. Two months ago, Garcetti’s budget proposed a 7% increase in funding for the LAPD.

Police budgets are typically the largest piece of a city’s budget. That goes for cities big and small, and it’s especially true in California, where law enforcement officers are the highest paid in the country,  making about $93,000 a year on average. 

Columnist Joe Mathews argues that police budgets are crowding out other services like libraries and community programs that make cities safe.

He wrote about this in his column “Connecting California” for Zocalo Public Square.

Credits

Guest:
Joe Mathews - Host, "Zocalo's Connecting California" - @joemmathews

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Caleigh Wells, Angie Perrin