We Must Reallocate Rock Hill Police Department Funds Now!
We Must Reallocate Rock Hill Police Department Funds now!
Bloated Police Budgets Lead to Increased Unmet Community Need
Police Spending is Out of Control: (Police Spending at a Glance)
Rock Hill’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021, allocates $17,655,772.00 in Rock Hill Police expenditures. This is a proposed increase of $739,464.00 over fiscal year 2020 levels. Levels that were already an increase of $510,913.00 over fiscal year 2019 levels. Meaning that Rock Hill has increase spending on its police by over $1.25 million dollars in just the past 3 years alone. Furthermore, we have seen an increase in general funds expenditures for Rock Hill police of nearly $5.25 million dollars over the past decade.
Rock Hill continues to increase police spending year after year, while at the same time, many of the basic needs of our community; particularly the needs of our youth, seniors, and otherwise most vulnerable and undeserved citizens go unmet. Unmet, primarily from a lack of funding. Funding that is being diverted, by the millions, to satisfy ever increasing police budgets.
Proposed Staffing Levels:
Police budgets are allocated primarily based on projected staffing levels, as staffing is the number one driver of police spending. Rock Hill Police are projecting, 205 full time police officers, for the 2021 fiscal year. Additionally, the cities “Budget at a Glance” document, indicates that Rock Hill is working to further increase its police force by “adding 4 additional new officers plus equipment starting January 2021”. The document states that the, “Grant application [is] pending. If successful, the COPS grant through the Department of Justice would cover 90% of costs in year 1, 70% in year 2, and 40% in year 3.” Meaning, that in 4 years, Rock Hill would be responsible for fully funding these 4 additional full time officers as well.
Rock Hill Police Department is Over Staffed:
The average ratio, for cities with populations, equivalent to Rock Hill, that being between 50,000-100,000 residents, is 15.9 officers per 10,000 residents. By those numbers, Rock Hill would need just 121 full time officers to be in line with the national average. With that being stated, the proposed 205 full time officers would put Rock Hill at 84 full time officers over the average for cities of the same population size, and that is not even counting the addition 4 officers from the federal COPS grant.
Reallocation Needed to Correct Over Staffing:
If we reallocated 30% of the proposed funds that are currently budgeted for Rock Hill police, and that led directly to a 30% re-purposing of officers, Rock Hill would still be far above the national average. As, a 30% reallocation would represent a re-purposing in force of 33 full time officers. That would still leave the department with 172 to 176 full time officers to carry out their duty of protecting and serving the community. Which again would still be well above the 121 full time officers, that would put us on par with the national average for cities of Rock Hill’s population size.
What would a 30% Reallocation Do for the City:
The 30% reallocation of general budget funds from police, into 21 century community care, support, and well-being initiatives would allow Rock Hill to build desperately needed and robust social infrastructure and services that for too long have been lacking and denied its citizen, due in large part, to bloated and ever increasing police budgets.
A 30% reallocation of funds would mean an additional, almost $5.3 million dollars a year, to build social capacity and infrastructure. $5.3 million more dollars a year to address the unmet needs of the citizen of this city. $5.3 million more dollars a year to fund: community and school based mental health services, un-armed non police crisis response teams, after school/ mentoring programs, gang mitigation/gang diversion, food security, homelessness, drug/chemical education and dependence addiction programs, employment programs, tutoring, arbitration programs, parks and recreation programs, community based literacy/early childhood development programs, senior programs, expanded micro loan programs, and also fully fund the critically needed Citizens Review Board. The opportunities afforded by reallocating police budgets, and dialing them back to a sufficient yet reasonable level, would allow Rock Hill to truly move into the future it deserves. One that provides for the needs of all its citizens and not just for the needs of some of its citizens.
If We Reallocate Police Funds What About Crime?
Despite ever increasing police budgets, year after year, Rock Hill has not really enjoyed the benefits promised, when it comes to crime reduction. Despite the trend and fact that crime has dropped across the board nationwide for at least the past 30 years, Rock Hill’s crime rates have not seen the dramatic declines that have been enjoyed by many cities across nation. In fact, despite the overwhelming spending, Rock Hill still ranks as one of the least safe cites to live, not only when compared to other cities with in the state, but also when compared to other cities of equivalent size nationwide.
Rock Hill has a crime index score of 7, meaning that 93% of Americas cites are safer.
“With a crime rate of 43 per one thousand residents, Rock Hill has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here [in Rock Hill] is 1 in 23. Within South Carolina, more than 75% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Rock Hill.”
Importantly, when you compare Rock Hill to other communities of similar population, then Rock Hill crime rate (violent and property crimes combined) is quite a bit higher than average.
Rock Hill…when compared to communities of similar population size, its crime rate per thousand residents stands out as higher than most.” https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/sc/rock-hill/crime#data
Rock Hill has seen persistent and constant disproportionality high levels of crime even though the budget for Rock Hill police has increase rapidly year over year. This reality lends itself to the ultimate truth that perpetual increases in police funding is not the answer we need. Furthermore, those citizens that are left to bear the brunt of the crime in this city, are the same ones that are disproportionality (Over Policed) policed while at the same time being denied and left lacking the very basic resources that would address the sources of crime in their neighborhoods in the first place.
Looking Towards Real Solutions
Today’s police are charged with addressing everything from issues stemming from murder, to mental health/mental illness, chemical dependence/substance abuse, homelessness, urban blight, school to prison pipeline, poverty, gangs/ gang activity, narcotics/ drug dealing, unemployment/underemployment, domestic disputes, civil disputes, road/highway safety, K12/College/University safety and security, wellness checks, missing persons, juvenile delinquency, to noise complaints, and everything in between. Many of the areas that police are called on to handle are areas that they are not adequately or even minimally trained, equipped, nor should they ever in an advanced civilized society be expected to address.
Many of these areas, are areas that police officers themselves will tell you they are not equipped to handle; furthermore, that they should not bear the responsibility of handling. This is one of the most common complaints among officers, and we as a community need to listen to their needs as well. If we are going to address this most common of police complaints, and truly be responsive to the needs of all citizens in our city, we need to reallocate funds so that we can afford to field professionals who are equip to handle all those responsibilities that are not fair or appropriate to put on police and; moreover, the police department.
Furthermore, many if not most of these areas would be much better addressed and served by a specialized caring professional, one who would approach those they serve with a focus on helping and caring rather than one of crime and punishment. Specialized professionals who would ultimately be evaluated by the level of care they provide rather than by the number of arrest and citations they have on their stat sheet.
NOW IS OUR TIME TO ACT
This moment in history has granted us the extraordinary opportunity to stop to reevaluate, realign, and reallocate our collective priorities and how we care for one another and operate as a community. We must come together to reclaim our democracy, re-imagine the way we exist together, and restructure our community in ways that effectively and immediately address the dangerous levels under funding, neglect, and unmet community need. Specifically, those unmet needs of the neighborhoods and peoples who have been historically and continue to be left out of the full promise of the American and the Rock Hill Dream. Furthermore, we must immediately address the systemic institutionalized racism, that is the driving force for our exclusion, address it right here in our city, and address it in a meaningful way. If we are to be successful in our movement towards equity and justice, and in achieving the Rock Hill we all want and deserve…WE MUST REALLOCATE R.H.P.D FUNDS NOW! WE CAN ONLY DO THAT IF WE DO IT TOGETHER! ONE ROCK HILL!
To Learn More and the Join the Movement please email: reallocateRHPD@gmail.com
© 2020 Ayende Alcala