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What makes us safe? A safe community is not hungry, its members receive care when they are sick, older adults don’t worry about surviving summers without air-conditioning or support, young people are loved and cared for, and transportation is not a barrier.

We don’t have to look far to see safer communities. In Fort Worth and across the country, safer communities have valued members, strong social bonds, and more resources.

A strong public safety budget should support all of these things, but the reality is that Fort Worth gives police and fire departments the majority of our city’s general fund. What we fund says a lot about what we believe. When our money is so tied up in crime reaction and control, we are not addressing the root causes of violence or investing in building safer communities.

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The city’s Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD) is on the ballot right now, and with it comes an opportunity to put our morals on paper. Fort Worth spends nearly $1 million per day on policing, with a combined $267 million from the city’s general fund and $80 million annually from the CCPD. Prop A would renew CCPD funding for another 10 years, creating a $1 billion tax burden in addition to a very large annual police budget.

Only 6% of CCPD funds go toward community programs. By voting against Prop A, we can create some space in our budget for the things that truly make safer and stronger communities.

Fort Worth’s police budget continues to grow year after year, despite cuts to other critical areas and claims that there is no money to invest in improving food security, access to health care, and other basic needs.

As we invest less in our communities, our demand for policing increases and cycles of violence are perpetuated. Disrupting harm and violence requires investing in alternatives to policing that actually make us safer, like mental health care, community de-escalation, and transformative justice.

In the wake of the murders of Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more minorities, we have to ask if police are keeping us safe.

We know policing costs Fort Worth close to $350 million every year. What else is it costing us? What aren’t we investing in? What kinds of safety are we ignoring?

To build toward a future free from violence together, we need real input in our city spending, investment in programs that nurture and support our neighborhoods, and alternatives to policing that strengthen community bonds and facilitate accountability.

Vote against Prop A on July 14 to defund CCPD. Picture a future Fort Worth with us where everyone has what they need. Imagine a future in which policing is unnecessary. Let’s create a public safety budget that gets us closer. — Jen Sarduy and Lizzie Maldonado

 

Jen Sarduy lives in Fort Worth, where they organize at Re+Birth Equity Alliance.

 

Lizzie Maldonado is a community organizer and director of the Fort Worth harm reduction organization O.D. Aid.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great points in the article. I hadn’t really thought much on police funding and these issues until the recent issues regarding policing brought it to the forefront. More money to policing isn’t taking a different action, but is more of the same action. So why not try a new approach? People always talk about how the private sector gets better outcomes, well it also innovates and tries new things and doesn’t blindly do the same thing year after year, why not here? An ounce of prevention…

  2. Mayor Betsy Price received $25k in re-election campaign contributions from the Police Officers Association, Funded by the CCPD tax. Then she donated $2500 to a pro PROP A campaign called “Keep Fort Worth Neighborhoods Safe”. That’s exactly 10% of what she received from the POA. That’s exactly why we need to VOTE AGAINST prop A, OUR TAX DOLLARS are continuously trading pockets of our political leaders. Corruption is rampant in FW government.

    • Parker- incorrect- Fort Worth Police Officers Association receives no funds from the CCPD funds.
      Vote Prop A if you live in FTW. Remember, the city will continue to collect a sales take of 0.5% to fund Fort Worth’s Crime Control and Prevention District until 2030. That means that not only the FWPD will be funded but also the FW human Trafficking Unit as well. So, if you are not keen on pedophilia and modern day slavery (which inflicts 40% of POC, might I add.) this would be a good thing to vote YES on. If you vote no, this is what you will be saying no to; The FY2020 budget for CCPD
      -more than 290 city positions
      -school resource programs in six school districts
      -crime prevention/intervention/response programs with 14 non-profit agencies
      -mileage, equipment, and administrative costs of more than 500 Citizens on Patrol patrollers
      -Youth programs, estimated to serve 7,000 participants
      Resources: https://www.tarrantvotes.com

  3. With only 2 comments shows how many people actually look at FW Weekly !! Two bad you have to become political and not try to help rebuild the restaurant and club business, which is what you used to do. We need a strong police dept to keep the criminals off the street.

  4. You going to call a psychologist or psychiatrist and analyze that person trying to break down your door at night , robbing your house or kidnapping your children ? Defunding the Police is the dumbest socialist idea yet . We need to support the Police more now than ever . Who wants to protect the very people that are the nastiest to them ? Wake up America .Wake up Fort Worth .

  5. If y’all like our city to turn bad like other cities with high crime rate then vote no. Fort Worth has been a great place to live and businesses are coming to Fort Worth for that reason. Look how chop zone worked for Seattle!!! And it was only 3 blocks, imagine the whole city… think smart and make the right decision. With No crime prevention, we definitely going to need extra money to hospitals, health care and extra…

  6. Stumbled on this article looking for the election results. It will be interesting to see what these defund the policy cities look like in the future. I’m glad to see the majority of FW citizens realize we actually need police and the programs this does support. We will never live in a fairytale utopia where we don’t need police. What does Chicago and Seattle look like; Higher crime and more murders per capita.
    To the ladies who wrote this, I wish you all the best, but if you ever need the police in a critical time in your life decide if you really want a world where you have to defend yourself and help is never coming.

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