SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Residents of Utah took to the streets to rally against police funding on Saturday.
According to event organizers Decarcerate Utah, the rally is within the budget proposed by Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
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The event kicked off on May 29 at around 2:00 p.m. with attendees voicing their opposition to the proposed 5% increase in the police department’s budget.
The group met with community members on the west side of the city council building and featured speakers from other grassroots organizers in the community who also support cutting funding from the police department.
âOn Monday, May 3, the group’s organizers issued demands to halve the department’s budget and cut staff in half, and use the misappropriated savings from the police department’s budget to invest in sub-departments. funded that the Salt Lake community needs, such as housing and mental health resources, âDecarcerate Utah tells ABC4.
According to the organization, “In an attempt to appease protests last summer, Mayor Erin Mendenhall and the Salt Lake City Council have agreed to take a closer look at the police department’s budget through a fiscal year based on zero, and created a commission on racial equity in the police. and placed $ 2.8 million in a deposit account. Since then, despite countless unified public protests to defund the police service, there has been no recommendation or action to cut funding. ”
âThe police don’t prevent, fix or heal our community. Instead of relying on them to answer calls, Decarcerate Utah believes in empowering the people who make up the fabric of the Salt Lake community by investing more resources in mental health care providers, housing services and social workers, responders to violence, even directly empowering members of the community. , since neighbors, family and friends are more likely to be true first responders. The group believes the city should invest resources to create non-police response programs in the SLC to reduce damage to schools, neighborhoods, workplaces and homes, âthey add.
The group’s bold call to reduce the police department’s budget comes with the recognition that “to reduce police violence, racial inequity and other forms of oppression created by the criminal justice system, we must bring dramatic changes to our city’s budget and advocate funding for underfunded community services. “