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Denver City Council pushes bloated police budget, people speak out

By staff |
October 26, 2022
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Denver, CO - On Monday, October 24, community members gathered at the Denver City Council Building to make their voices heard regarding Denver’s public budget for 2023. Mayor Michael Hancock seeks to spend almost 37% of the city budget on Public Safety. Though this is a slightly smaller percentage of the budget than last year, the proposed plan will spend an additional $45 million on Public Safety as compared to 2022.

The proposed plan would also allocate $8.4 million to recruit 188 new police officers. This would increase the size of Denver’s police force by 3% for a total of 1,639 officers. The plan also seeks to decrease training requirements in favor of “on-the-job” training in an attempt to keep more officers on the force. In reality, this on-the-job training means less training before officers hit the streets, resulting in increased police violence.

The Denver police force already suffers from a lack of training. The recent police shooting of Jordan Waddy and 6 bystanders outside of a packed bar in LoDo indicates a lack of training and a poor screening process to root out bloodthirsty killers. The Denver-Aurora Community Action Committee (DACAC) has been fighting for the indictment of the attempted murderers on the force since the shooting in July.

“If the police can’t maintain adequate staffing, curb police brutality, or decrease the level of crime with nearly 40% of the city’s budget, then it’s clear to me that those funds would be better spent virtually anywhere else. And it is a testament to this fact that all these folks have come out today,” said Jonce Palmer, chair of DACAC, during their remarks to the City Council.

Continuing the struggle for justice in the LoDo shooting, about 40 people gathered to voice their opinions that the proposed budget allocates far too much for policing and not enough for the social issues that lead to crime. DACAC also recognizes that the police themselves are committing crimes against those they are supposed to protect. As DACAC member, Kyle Burroughs, says, “If the LoDo shooting had been perpetrated by any other group in the U.S., this would be called domestic terrorism.”

Denver PD has increased their budget steadily over the years, and, despite admitting their failure to reduce crime and police murders, they have requested more in funds for 2023.

DACAC, however, contends that a higher budget won’t lead to justice. “I think that it is irresponsible to put more funds in the hands of a force that was ultimately responsible for the mass shooting that injured Jordan Waddy and six other innocent bystanders,” says DACAC member Cole Hamilton, “Let’s give less money to cops and more money to the people that are harmed by them. We’re fighting to reduce that budget and they won’t listen. What we need is community control over the police. What we need is democratic control over the police budget so that the people can decide what’s good for themselves.”

DACAC plans to continue the struggle for justice for victims of police crime by fighting for community control of the police.