Instead of investing in more officers we should be investing into programs and initiatives that address poverty, housing instability, food insecurity, education, and violence interruption.
This decision is even more disappointing with the Texas Legislature passing HB 1900 (the bill that financially penalizes the state’s largest cities if they cut their police budgets).
San Antonio now faces penalties if our constituents decide we need to reduce our law enforcement budget to fund more critical community needs like those mentioned above.
With a goal to divert certain calls away from police, de-escalate mental health situations that have ended in death; and a secondary goal to hold the police budget under a certain percentage to prioritize fundamental community needs, an increase to the police budget is irresponsible right now. A pilot program for a mental health crisis response that does not do the utmost to reduce the role of law enforcement is irresponsible and lacking in compassion.
It’s a message to the San Antonio community that our SAPD officers do not operate under the notion of accountability, nor fiscal responsibility.
It is still unclear what our revenue will be with the ongoing pandemic for the coming year. Adjustments may need to be made, and we cannot afford the penalties that would be imposed on us if we needed to reallocate funds away from SAPD in the future.