Why haven't politicians learned defunding police doesn't work?
Once again, leftists are pursuing a failed policy that will put people in danger. The City of West Hollywood voted to defund its sheriff's department.
It shouldn't be a surprise that it's a California city. Californians seem to lead the way nowadays in bad governance. What is surprising is that they would do this when even other Democrat-controlled cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles County learned that defunding the police doesn't stop crime, and in fact, does the opposite. It allows it to spike.
Both of those places learned that lesson the hard way and restored police funding.
You would have hoped that other cities, particularly ones from the same state, would have seen the train wreck that defunding the police causes and gone a different route.
The West Hollywood City Council passed their budget, which included less funding for the sheriff's department, with a 3-2 vote. Mayor Lauren Meister and Councilman John Erickson voted against the decision. Mayor pro tem Sepi Shyne and councilmembers Lindsey Horvath and John D'Amico voted for the budget that will reduce the sheriff's department by at least four deputies.
This cut will happen when the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reported a 137-percent increase in crime in West Hollywood in February 2022 compared to the same time in 2021, the New York Post reported. Meister had been opposing any cuts to the department because of this.
"I'm not going to vote for the budget if we cut the sheriff's [funds]," Meister said. "First of all, nobody has the gun problem that we have in this country. You can't expect us to have a public safety team where most of the people aren't armed in order to defend our citizens."
City manager David Wilson had proposed a budget that maintained the sheriff's department and increased human services funding. However, Shyne amended the budget to re-allocate that funding to the Block by Block program, which provides unarmed, blue-shirted security ambassadors as supplemental law enforcement services.
"What we know now is our residents want foot patrols," Shyne said. "We need to be fiscally responsible. And we have all talked for two years. Reimagining policing means reallocating funding. You can't just say it without actually doing it. Period."
With this change, two deputies will be removed in six months, and three more deputies will be removed six months later. However, an Entertainment Policing Team deputy will be restored. Thirty Block by Block security ambassadors will be added to the program's contract.
The cuts are worrying the residents and business-owners in the city because they are the ones who will suffer, as crime will undoubtedly continue to rise. Even the security ambassadors will probably suffer. All a criminal needs to do is have a gun, and he will have the advantage over the ambassadors. They are unlikely to do anything against an armed criminal except radio for help from a reduced sheriff's department.
"We need our deputies on the street, and we need more of them. We need them on foot patrol. We need them on bikes. We need to bring back whoever was defunded, and even add more. Crime is up. People are yelling for more public safety, not less," Ruth Williams, a co-founder of West Hollywood, told the Public Safety Commission in April.
In West Hollywood, where apparently the officials don't learn from the mistakes of others, they will have more ambassadors on the street who might spot more crimes taking place, but they will have fewer deputies who can actually do anything about it.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. West Hollywood is paying for a neighborhood watch instead of a police force.
Michael A. Letts is the CEO and founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs.
Image via Max Pixel.