“More defunding the police won’t make us safer!” Community advocates respond to Reps Gottheimer, Sherrill and Kim
NEW JERSEY – Today, 25 New Jersey organizations and community leaders issued a statement oppose a plan to send even more funds to police departments already funded at historically unprecedented levels. Police funding has steadily increased over time, with negligible impact on crime rates.
“We have years of data, from small municipalities to large counties, telling us what makes communities safer. Despite what the police unions will tell you, it has never increased police funding. shared Matt Dragon, Co-Chair of Our Revolution Essex County, NJ.
Back on May 6, representatives Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Axne (IA-3) write a letter calling on Speaker Pelosi to bring a bill to a vote that would provide $250 million in federal funding for law enforcement. Representatives Kim (NJ-3) and Sherrill (NJ-11) were among the Democratic and Republican representatives who joined them in this letter. The letter implied that funding for the police needed to be increased from current levels and did not mention how heavily funded the police department was already.
“Increased funding for additional training has not reduced bad apple combative behaviors in our major police departments. So when our elected officials call for providing the same to smaller PDs, we need to speak up,” said Burlington County NAACP President Marcus Sibley. “A crisis requires crisis intervention specialists, not police officers.”
Last Wednesday, Rep. Gottheimer apparently tried to push this police defunding bill through the House by blocking passage of an assault weapons ban, a move that would make communities safer. It backed down later that day, following a public outcry.
Rep. Gottheimer has a history of hampering his party’s legislative priorities — he spent months sabotaging President Biden’s agenda. With his help, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) eventually killed Build Back Better, even though most Americans supported him.
Voters, advocates and progressive lawmakers across the country are frustrated with the filibuster and lack of movement on police accountability legislation. This is especially true in New Jersey, where attempts to empower civilian complaint review commissions and institute transparency requirements through state legislation have met with strong resistance from the public. legislators and police departments. Federal efforts for police accountability have also stalled, with bills like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act dying in the US Senate.
Cuqui Rivera, chair of the Latino Action Network’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee, said, “NJ has taken strong action to address these issues through policies, guidelines, and the new police licensing bill. promulgated on July 21. We need to start seeing the bad apples actually held accountable, not just given another training. We continue to demand direct assessment, evaluation, and measured behavior change from all law enforcement. More money for more training is not the solution. You cannot train bad behavior.
“We need to prioritize funding programs that work: violence cessation and mental health programs, addiction treatment and social services. Dragon continued. “We need to engage and listen to communities, learn from them and fund the solutions they identify as successful. Enough repeating the police propaganda – it’s time for our members of Congress to step up and commit to making communities safer.
Yannick Wood, director of the criminal justice reform program at the NJ Institute of Social Justice, summed up: “”Public safety is more than just policing; it’s about giving communities the tools they need to stay safe. We urge New Jersey congressmen to fund programs that address the root causes of crime through mental health first responders, violence intervention programs, and programs that create wealth in the within communities of color.
“Reinventing public safety is a national priority for us and we will keep up the pressure on NJ officials to focus on restorative justice and improving quality of life rather than failing over- police,” said Anna-Marta Visky, national organizer of Our Revolution.
LIST OF SIGNATORIES:
Our New Jersey Revolution
South Burlington County NAACP
Black Lives Matter NJ
Organization of the house of hearts
Undivided NJ 5th District
Ironbound Community Society
Latin Action Network
Do the NJ route
March for Our Lives New Jersey
New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
New Jersey Political Perspective
New Jersey Working Families Alliance
Newark Communities for Responsible Policing
Perth Amboy Area NAACP
People’s Organization for Progress
salvation and social justice
South Jersey Progressive Democrats
St. Thomas AME Zion Church
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair
Unitary Universalist Faith Action NJ
New Jersey Voters of Tomorrow
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