As police budgets face scrutiny following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Smart Cities Dive took a close look at budgeting adjustments in a number of cities that started a new fiscal year on July 1.
We knew such adjustments would be hard to measure, as budget conversations had been ongoing for months and nearing approvals when national calls to "defund the police" began. We also knew that such calls would be met with varying levels of pushback, complicating the overall budgeting process.
By comparing budgets across 29 cities, what we did notice was that no two cities are alike in how they develop their budgets, how they fund various departments and how they tackle issues of racial inequity. Beyond the actual dollar figure a police department receives each year, digging into these budgets showed differences in the actuadoes al role of police, programs and staff that are placed under that department, and the technology used by staff to mitigate crime.
Smart Cities Dive's interactive police budget report serves as a tool for government leaders and city residents to understand the current policing landscape, with updates to come as more cities enter their new fiscal years in October and January 2021.
We hope readers glean their own conclusions from this data, and welcome any further analysis or commentary. For more in-depth coverage of this topic, check out our recent reporting on transit policing, police surveillance of protests, and efforts by advocacy groups to address racially-biased practices in policing.
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