Residents call for council to ‘defund the police’ – Foothills Sun Gazette

Posted: June 17, 2020 at 2:44 pm

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Visalia has only enacted two of the eight policies of requiring warning before shooting and duty to intervene, which requires officers present and observing another officer using unreasonable force to intercede and report it to a supervisor. The six other policies include: banning chokeholds and strangleholds; required de-escalationtactics; requiring officers to exhaust all alternatives before shooting; banning shooting at moving vehicles; comprehensive reporting; and use of the force continuum, which restricts the most severe types of force to the most extreme situations and creates clear policy restrictions on the use of each police weapon and tactic.

The Tulare Police Department is the only other department to enact at least one of the policies, according to

City officials and staff pointed out they were not there to talk about the entire city budget or even the entire police department budget. Instead, the meeting was strictly to discuss the budget for Measure N, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2016. Measure N revenues are projected to be $11.4 million in 2020-21, just 5% of the citys overall budget.

People have already talked about wanting to shift funds from one thing to another, city manager Randy Groom said. Measure N was voted on by the voters with a very specific expenditure plan, which means the voters said this is what we wanted the money to be spent on and by law it has to be spent on that. In fact, there is an oversight committee that makes sure we spend money on exactly what voters said they wanted it spent on.

Jeremy Fredericksen spoke during public comment asking the city to begin its reforms with the $4.1 million in Measure N funding earmarked for police in 2020-21. He called on the council to rethink and reimagine its police funding by spending that money to train officers on anti-racist practices and retrain them on de-escalation and harm reduction tactics.

Listen to the voices of people here tonight and create a new Measure N budget that reflects values of most vulnerable populations, a budget that reflects that you do believe that Black Lives Matter in Visalia, a budget that reenvisions what our city can do to stop the racism that runs through the institutions of our city and make Visalia an example to cities across the country, Fredericksen said.

The voter-mandated spending plan earmarks36% of the sales tax for police, a third for roads, 13% for fire, 10% for maintenance, 5% for parks and recreation, 2% for youth services and 1% for a reserve fund. The police portion of next years Measure N budget is $2.8 million.

We have no authority to change any of this tonight, Mayor Bob Link said.

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Residents call for council to 'defund the police' - Foothills Sun Gazette

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