ST LOUIS, MO – According to reports, the mayor of St. Louis and the comptroller are advocating for measures to defund the city’s police budget by $4 million, and also to eradicate the nearly 100 vacant positions available for the police department.
ST. LOUIS — A city spending plan presented Thursday would cut about $4 million from the police budget and eliminate 98 officer positions that have been chronically vacant.
— The American Dialogue (@AmericaDialogue) April 29, 2021
On April 29th, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones voted in favor of a proposed plan, that was also supported by city comptroller Darlene Greene, to defund the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department by $4 million and reallocate those funds toward housing, services for the homeless, establishing a victim’s support program, and also funding civil rights litigators.
This meeting of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment resulted in a 2-1 vote in favor of the proposed measure, with the only person voting against it being Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed.
Much of the defunded budget impacted 98 vacant positions within the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Those vacant positions consisted of 67 officers, 25 sergeants, and six lieutenants.
Mayor Jones pointed out that those vacancies have been open within the department for 12 or more years. Luckily, no police personnel will be losing their jobs as a result of the proposed defunding effort.
Reportedly, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is supposed to have 1,349 sworn personnel under the current budget; however, the department is currently below that threshold by approximately 160 officers.
Much of the extra funds that should’ve been allocated toward filling department vacancies wound up being allocated toward covering overtime costs. Apparently, much of those overtime costs are directly related to protests that have transpired over the past year.
But with the slashing of the funds associated with those vacant positions, St. Louis Budget Director Paul Payne warned the week prior to the decision made that the SLMPD “will need to reduce actual overtime because they will not have that leeway to spend going forward.”
Apparently SLMPD Chief John Hayden noted that the reallocation of funds isn’t going to affect the current operations since he’s been unable to fill those positions for years.
Rep Cori Bush praises vote to defund the police in St Louis — even though it just got named the 7th most violent city in the world. https://t.co/fGbyCE8iPx
— Bart Marcois (@bmarcois) May 3, 2021
However, even with the funding associated with the 98 positions cut from the SLMPD, Chief Hayden is trying to fill voids left by officer attrition that the department does have funding for.
The St. Louis Ethical Society of Police, which is reportedly a union that represents minority police officer within the SLMPD, released a statement on the defunding that was highly critical of the decision reached:
“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 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.”
“For many years the budget has not supported the needs of the people and that’s why we’re seeing record numbers of homicides and other acts of violence. What we’ve been doing doesn’t work. This revised budget will start St. Louis on a new path to tackling some of the root causes of crime.”
U.S. Representative Cori Bush also chimed in on the defunding, saying:
“For decades, our city funneled more and more money into our police department under the guise of public safety, while massively underinvesting in the resources that will truly keep our communities safe.”
The amendment seeks to reallocate $4 million of the police department’s budget to Victim Support services, support for the unhoused and more. https://t.co/CPJCODwwxY
— Riverfront Times (@RiverfrontTimes) April 29, 2021
Rep. Bush stated that the “people have demanded a new approach to community safety,” and that people such as herself and Mayor Jones “were elected to deliver one,” while mentioning the now-common talking points to alternatives to traditional policing:
“We have a mandate to fully fund our social services. To invest in our communities, not criminalize them. To end police violence. To provide alternatives to police like unarmed mental health professionals or social workers to respond to crisis calls.
“That is what organizers in our communities have fought for, that is what St. Louis has demanded, and that is what we, as elected officials, promised St. Louis.”
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Law Enforcement Today previously reported on Mayor Jones after she’d managed to win the mayoral race back in April.
Here’s that previous report.
ST LOUIS, MO – The former St. Louis Treasurer, Tishaura Jones, defeated fellow Democrat Cara Spencer in the runoff for the mayoral race in St. Louis earlier in April.
Based upon Jones’ outspoken positions on certain matters relevant to modern public discourse, in concurrence with what she campaigned on specifically for this election, the city of St. Louis could be in store for some significant changes with respect to policing in the city.
Cop-Hating Leftist Tishaura Jones Wins St. Louis Mayoral Race – As Homicides Soar to 50-Year High https://t.co/ZbWou6EM70
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 7, 2021
The runoff election for St. Louis mayor was a relatively tight race, with Jones landing the race by securing 51.68% of the vote. Both Jones and her opponent in the race, Spencer, had no issue with coining themselves as being modern day progressives and ran their campaigns as being emblematic of such.
The runoff election came on the heels of St. Louis’ current mayor, Lyda Krewson, who opted not to seek a second term.
Anita Manion, who serves as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, noted that there’s a proverbial “changing of the guard” ongoing with voters in St. Louis that are seeking elected officials that “resonate with progressive voters”:
“Over the past five years or so we’ve seen a shift in St. Louis politics, away from the old guards like Lyda Krewson and Lewis Reed.
“They come from decades of Democratic politics in St. Louis that have been very business-friendly, sort of pro-police, and some of the attitudes that, I think, doesn’t resonate with progressive voters or younger voters anymore. This is a changing of the guard that we’re seeing.”
And when it comes to progressive politics, Jones is right up there with being an apt representation – almost to the point of being a stereotypical trope – of a modern-day progressive, based upon some of our previous statements and what she campaigned on for this race.
For instance, back in 2017, Jimmy Tobias of The Nation referred to Jones as being a “champion of Black Lives Matter.” The Associated Press recently referred to her as being “outspoken in her criticism of the criminal justice system’s arrest and incarcerate model.”
Earlier in 2021, Jones even supported what is referred to as the decriminalization of “sex work,” a.k.a. prostitution. Her proposed remedy for the alleged injustice of prostitution being criminalized was to provide those who solicit their bodies with housing and unemployment assistance/resources.
With 84.7% of the vote counted, it looks like the “defund the police” candidate for St. Louis mayor, Tishaura Jones, (who wants to de-police/shrink police responsibilities) will make the runoff, finishing in first in the nonpartisan primary. General election is next month. pic.twitter.com/oy2z322ucq
— David Menschel (@davidminpdx) March 3, 2021
So, it should be of little surprise to learn that Jones campaigned on defunding the police in St. Louis.
Albeit Jones’ campaigning efforts didn’t necessarily coin it as “defunding the police,” but instead presented it as restructuring of the police department’s budget via reallocating funds from police budgets to fund substance abuse centers, job training programs, and mental health services.
Last Republican Mayor 1949, not sure they understand definition of the word “change”
A chance to ‘rise’: St. Louis elects 1st Black female mayor
“We are done ignoring the racism that has held our city & our region back,” Jones said in her victory speech.https://t.co/KkIwDKb26J pic.twitter.com/r1191qLp7O
— duane poole @ Duanepoole (@duanepoole) April 8, 2021
Which, no matter how one spins or phrases it, subtracting funds originally designated for policing budgets and redistributing those funds elsewhere is still defunding the police.
The only difference between the two presented concepts is that one is more linguistically crafted to overly emphasize silver linings or potential benefits in an endeavor to remove police funding.
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Author: Gregory Hoyt
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