11 of 15 Milwaukee Common Council members have signed on to support a resolution to explore cutting the police department’s budget by 10%. The resolution was authored by Alderman Jose Perez and will go before the council during Tuesday’s meeting.
In a news release Perez said “although the Common Council does not set police policies and procedures, it can urge police reform and community reinvestment through the budget process. This proposal will not decrease the 2021 budget for the Milwaukee Police Department, only the 2021 budget, adopted in November, can do that.”
The resolution would ask the budget office to study what kind of effects a 10% cut of the police department budget would look like.
Common Council President Cavalier Johnson supports the resolution and says “it isn’t a binding thing, its a study. It’s asking them to show us what it would look like so we can enter into the conversation with both our eyes wide open.”
Perez calls for the portion of the budget that is cut to be be re-allocated to housing, The Health Department, The Office of Violence Prevention, and the Fire and Police Commission among others.
Alderman Mark Borkowski says he doesn’t agree with defunding the police department. “Can there be some tweaks to it, I think that we’re all open, be it training be it some other guides. But defunding the police department is not going to happen” said Borkowski.
The Police Department accounts for nearly half of the city’s annual budget at $297 million. The department released a statement that said;
“The Milwaukee Police Department remains committed to best serving the community with the resources it is afforded, including partnering with the various agencies that provide much needed social services. A 10% cut in the police budget, or $29.7 million, is the equivalent of approximately 375 police officers.”
The resolution will go before the Milwaukee Common Council during Tuesday morning’s meeting. It is expected to pass. The actual city budget which would govern the police department’s funding is decided on in the fall.