On 1/4/22, in possibly the worst business deal of 2022, the Sacramento City Council was ecstatic to sign up to get $2 million dollars from the Department of Justice, if they agreed to pay $8 million out of our general fund. It gets so much worse. The Sacramento Police department openly admits the money is intended to be used so that they can get close to community orgs to “help with their investigations,” and to make them appear more trustworthy.
New police Chief Kathy Lester, has no specific plans for the new officers (their positions are funded by this deal), but does plan to continue business as usual. She spent her time reading off statistics on how many guns Sac PD has removed from the streets, it seems mostly during their inherently racist traffic stops.
In a city that: 1. Arrests the 13% African-American population 40% of the time
2. Is 5.7x more likely to stop Black over white people
3. Is 5x more likely to use force against Black people
4. 60% more likely to search African-Americans
- you’d like to think, that in order to build community trust, police would be more focused on reform, rather than leveraging community orgs to help them continue to over-police the communities they’re trying to serve.
They tried to sneak this one in on the consent calendar, but weren’t so lucky.
Councilmember Valenzuela had some questions and comments about this grant. She made a lot of good points. Studies show that an increase in police does not decrease crime, and some of the cities with the lowest crime rates in California also have the lowest numbers of police. She also pointed out that over the last two years Sac PD has got an increase of over $30 million, and we just added 11 new officers last month (see that article here).
In possibly the most classist move of 2022 (so far) Council Member Harris has decided that everyone who buys a gun without the proper paperwork is a violent criminal, and that criminals wake up and choose violence.
He has deemed himself the saint savior of the Latinos in his district, who he insists have personally told him they want more police presence, over more community services. In spite of the fact that Latinos are 1.3x more likely to be stopped and searched than white people in Sacramento….and 41% of his district doesn’t have "complete or quite a bit of trust" in the Sacramento Police
The community survey brought to the council by their Office of Audit said that a whopping 61% of district 2 doesn’t have "complete or quite a bit of trust" in the Sacramento Police. Loloee is still convinced that everyone in his district also would like more police over community services. His evidence? Well, he is a light skinned business owning, local government official who sleeps better at night when he sees a police car….so there's that.
Loloee also claims that every city that has defunded police has gone running back due to an increase in crime. He seems to either misunderstand or be willfully dishonest about the statistics.
The fact of the matter is, very few cities attempted to move funding from the police back to the community, yet crime has continued to go up everywhere - which actually disproves his point of more police = less crime.
Vice Mayor Schenirer claims he would like to bring a motion to increase spending on youth programs, at the same percentage increments as police. Councilmember Valenzuela challenged the council to do it now; they did not take her up on the offer.
Councilmember Valenzuela asked for some specifics on what exactly the ideal number of officers are for our city, but was met with, “more than we have now.” Councilmember Vang also pointed to data that shows that we need more community services, she even shared her personal experience growing up in Oak Park and Meadowview, but it fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, as Sac PD snatches up another $8 million in general funds, Councilmember Jennings shared that local nonprofits play a vital role in community safety, he just doesn’t think they need to always be paid for their work.
This sentiment came simultaneously, with Jennings, Harris, Loloee, and Schenirer exclaiming we don't have to choose between city programs and more police, because there’s more than enough money to go around.
….tell that to the 10,000 people sleeping outside.
The motion passed, 7-2, and we’ll continue to throw money at reacting to crime, instead of preventing it.