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St. Louis advances plan to cut $4M from police budget and remove 98 vacant officer jobs

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/30/2021 Andrew Mark Miller
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City officials in St. Louis, Missouri, are moving forward with a plan to cut $4 million from the police budget and remove 98 vacant officer jobs.

The local Board of Estimate and Apportionment voted 2-1 in favor of the spending plan, which pledges to remove $4 million from the $171 million police budget and reallocate that money to social services, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The plan, according to St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, is intended to “address the root causes of crime and support the victims of crime as well as those who have been underserved and underrepresented.”

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The plan cuts 98 vacant police jobs, including six lieutenants, 25 sergeants, and 67 police officers, which the mayor says have been vacant for 12 years.

Several groups have criticized the move, citing the amount of violent crime in the city, including a group of black police officers that argued the police department is already stretched too thin.

“St. Louis City has a ‘right now problem’ relative to violent crime, so any measure that does not include adequate police staffing is misguided,” the Ethical Society of Police said about the plan. “The imbalance between the number of calls for service in the busiest districts to the number of officers assigned leaves little time for proactive patrols and community building.”

In 2020, the homicide rate in St. Louis was the highest in 50 years.

The police department had been using the extra money for the jobs to cover overtime that officers had logged, which will now need to be trimmed down, according to city budget Director Paul Payne, who says the department “will need to reduce actual overtime because they will not have that leeway to spend going forward.”

Payne added that the budget for overtime has been exceeded in part because of how often police have been forced to respond to street protests.

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$1.5 million of the money taken from the police budget will go to the Affordable Housing Commission, $1 million will go to a victim support services program, and $1 million will be spent on hiring 15 Human Services Department caseworkers to assist the homeless.

Additionally, $500,000 will be spent on an Affirmative Litigation Unit, which will assist the City Counselor’s Office in investigating civil rights complaints.

The plan now moves to aldermen, who will hold hearings about possible amendments, and if no changes are made, it will go into effect on July 1.

Tags: News, St. Louis, Police, Crime, Law Enforcement

Original Author: Andrew Mark Miller

Original Location: St. Louis advances plan to cut $4M from police budget and remove 98 vacant officer jobs

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