On Wednesday, July 1st, the City Council of Los Angeles will vote on a motion to cut 150 million dollars from the LAPD budget. The proposal represents a significant cut in the $2 billion Police Department budget while allocating those funds to other civic agencies.
This motion was written to address the racial bias minority communities suffer at the hands of the police. The City Council vote to slash the department’s funds will impact public safety by among other things, cutting the police force by over 300 officers and reducing the police car total by over 30 in addition to those vehicles lost in the demonstrations. The funds are to be redirected to city agencies like the Youth Development Taskforce and the Parks and Recreation.
Agudath Israel opposes this motion by the City Council. The city agencies to who funds will be redistributed, while necessary and important, will not tackle the critical issue of racially charged policing and overreach. Those funds would be better distributed to agencies that can better train the LAPD, change the culture of the Police Department, and train civilians to take over for police when an armed officer is not needed to respond.
The funding reallocation proposed, poses a great risk to public safety. The new budget reduces the police budget in a way that severely increases police response times, and presence in the community.
While Agudath Israel of California stands with their minority peers in supporting the need to change racial bias in policing, this new proposal does not address those concerns in a safe and effective way. Dr. Irving Lebovics, chairman of Agudath Israel of California, has said, “We respect the city council in their quest to fix the racial inequities in our system. However, we cannot back this motion due to the threat of public safety and ineffectiveness of the budget reassignment.”