Hurd, Fitzpatrick, Brindisi, Golden Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Police and Law Enforcement from “Defund the Police” Movement
Yesterday, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) and Jared Golden (D-Maine), and I introduced the Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act. At a time when police departments and our men and women in blue around the country are being threatened by movements to defund or abolish the police, steps must be taken to ensure that state and local governments do not legitimize or bow to the will of the dangerously misguided “Defund the Police” movement. Our support for the men and women of law enforcement, who put their lives on the line on a daily basis for our communities, must be clear. This legislation would prevent jurisdictions that defund the police from receiving certain federal grants, preventing specific federal taxpayer dollars from bankrolling jurisdictions who intentionally make their communities less safe.
Under the Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act, a defunding jurisdiction is defined as a State or political subdivision of a state that abolishes or disbands the police department with no intention of reconstituting the jurisdiction’s police department, or significantly reduces the police department’s budget without reallocating a portion of that money to any other community policing program, provided that the jurisdiction did not face a significant decrease in revenues in the previous fiscal year. Specifically, defunding jurisdictions would be prohibited from receiving grants under certain Economic Development Assistance Programs, focused on planning and administrative expenses, and grants for training, research, and technical assistance, and the Community Development Block Grant Programs.
Defunding the police is not the solution to making people feel safer in their communities. Instead, we should focus on real solutions like empowering police chiefs to fire bad cops and improving police training and accountability in line with best practices. The bill will prevent key federal grant programs from going to communities that are making communities less safe by abolishing their police departments.
“Those calling for the defunding of the police as a serious policy prescription for improving police-community relations simply do not understand nor have placed themselves into the position of the on-duty police officer. Our communities need the police, they should be fully funded, and their service deserves our respect. Calls to defund the police are irresponsible, misguided, and dangerous. Without the police defending our communities, crime would drastically increase. And with more crime comes more victims,” said Fitzpatrick. “Defunding the police would make our neighborhoods less safe and more vulnerable to criminal activity. Aside from putting lives at risk and jeopardizing the safety that many of us take for granted in our daily lives, any talk of defunding the police will only ratchet up social tension at a time when our country needs cooler heads to prevail. My bipartisan bill sends a direct message to cities across the country: let’s make sure our police and law enforcement are well-funded, not defunded.”
“Our police officers do a dangerous job: putting their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities—most of them serve with honor and to make their communities a better place.” said Brindisi. “During these difficult times, we need to be thinking about ways to reform and improve our policing system not stripping departments of critical funding that provides training, gear, community engagement programs, and things like body cameras that help hold bad actors accountable to the public. As we strive for more public safety and a more-just system, defunding and disbanding police departments is not an option. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation, will make sure that our police departments are well-funded so they can reform and improve upon their core mission: protecting and serving our communities.”