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Policy Library

Improve Public Safety by Reinvesting Policing Savings in Community Based and Prevention Programs

Communities are safest when all residents have access to education, jobs and opportunities to build their lives -- higher education and employment levels are associated with lower crime rates. Police funding, on the other hand, has been shown to have no connection to crime rates. And police officers should be able to focus on the problems that they are trained to address, notably public safety, and free them from dealing with issues that others are more trained to handle like homelessness and substance abuse recovery. The Reimagine Communities Act involves impacted communities to invest police savings in proven youth, health, employment and housing programs that make communities safer.

In The News

“KING: So this is civilians responding to calls. Do police support that? WESTERVELT: They do because it relieves them, and it's cost-effective. I mean, on a budget of just over $2 million, this civilian team takes some 20% of Eugene's 911 calls. So it's saving money. It's saving police manpower. And also, Noel, this is key - these non-police interventions are keeping people out of emergency rooms and out of county jails. That's a huge savings. And remember, jails have become de facto America's biggest mental health facilities.”
“‘I think until you have trust in the community, you don’t have anything,’ Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said. ... Listening is also a big part of that. That’s why over the next few weeks, Mayor Maddox, Chief Blankley, officers and its senior leadership team will meet with community leaders, pastors, educators and residents to come up with a plan to reimagine policing in the city.”
“[Maryland’s] Public Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2018 … sets aside $5 million in the coming year to fund grants for programs that have been effective at making violence-stricken neighborhoods more peaceful. California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York have been making modest investments for a number of years, and data suggest it has paid off in target cities, with substantial declines in shootings and violent crime.”

Partners

  • Communities in need of better social supports
  • Police reform advocates
  • Civil rights groups

Opposition

  • Interests that prefer a status quo approach to police funding
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
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FAQ

Who does this help?
Research shows that expanding educational opportunities significantly reduces the probability of incarceration and arrest, and that access to jobs reduces criminal behavior. Assessing expenditures on policing to identify evidence-based ways to generate savings and increase public safety will benefit everyone, especially communities most impacted by current policing practices.
Is this high cost for the state government?
No. It merely allocates funding to a different mix of programs. In Eugene, OR, an alternate responder program in place for thirty years has saved the city about $8.5 million annually in public safety costs.
Is this reallocation to reduce policing costs popular?
Yes. Recent polling has found that 72% of voters support a new first-responder agency that addresses issues of addiction and mental health.
Print

Model Policy

SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the Community Reinvestment Act.

SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
This act establishes a Commission to examine police funding in STATE and provide evidence-based ways to generate savings and increase public safety by reallocating funds toward proven methods to support communities, and report annually with proposed action for the Executive and Legislative branches.

SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):

(a) With passage of this legislation and its enactment, the Governor and Legislature in STATE have hereby agreed to a reassessment of police funding and a reallocation of funding toward community-based programs in STATE.
(b) A Community Reinvestment Commission is hereby established to undertake a comprehensive review of the STATE’s police funding and, using a data-driven community-based approach, develop policy recommendations for legislative and executive consideration to reduce excessive policing and reinvest the money saved into proven strategies and programs to support communities and reduce crime.
(c) The Commission shall consist of:
  • (i) The Governor, who shall act as the non-voting Chair;
  • (ii) Two members of the Senate, one appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and one appointed by the Minority Leader;
  • (iii) Two members of the House of Representatives, one appointed by the Speaker of the House and one appointed by the Minority leader
  • (iv) The Attorney General; and
  • (v) The Public Defender [or if no state public defender the head of the STATE public defender association].
(d) The following shall serve as non-voting members of the Commission:
  • (i) The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of STATE;
  • (ii) The Commissioners of the Departments of Public Safety, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Mental Health, Parole and Probation, and Victim Compensation;
  • (iii) The head of the STATE Police;
  • (iv) Two representatives of county or municipal law enforcement, as designated by the Attorney General; and
  • (v) Two representatives from other governmental agencies that work in social services, to be selected by the Governor from a list provided by the legislative representatives;
  • (vi) Two representatives of nonprofit organizations that work with addressing police violence and the use of excessive force, to be selected by the Governor from a list provided by the legislative representatives.
(e) A majority of the membership of the Commission shall constitute a quorum and shall meet at the call of the chairperson, or upon an affirmative vote of a majority of the Commission. All members must be notified in writing of all meetings at least five days before the date on which a meeting of the Commission is scheduled. Meetings shall be held at least quarterly. The Commission may appoint a Work Group to provide additional information and advice to the Commission.
(f) Each voting member shall be entitled to appoint a single individual to serve as proxy for the duration of his or her term. The proxy may attend meetings if the member is unable to attend a meeting of the Commission. The designation of a proxy by a member shall be in writing transmitted to the Chairperson of the Commission.
(g) Members of the Commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties by the agency or department in which they serve as an official or employee.
(h) All executive branch departments and agencies shall, upon request of the Commission, provide requested services, information, and technical assistance to support the goals of the Commission.
(j) The Commission shall:
  • (i) Undertake a comprehensive review of state and local policing budgets in STATE and assess them in light of 1) peer-reviewed research on effective policing practices; 2) peer-reviewed research on crime prevention; 3) peer-reviewed research on policing alternatives and community investment as a tool to support public safety and 4) budgets in other states.
  • (ii) Solicit robust public input on the state’s policing systems and policy options to generate savings, increase public safety, and reinvest in communities through evidence-based practices.
  • (1) The subjects of public input shall include, at a minimum, community needs and research highlighting best practices for:
  • --(A) Youth programs;
  • --(B) Mental health services;
  • --(C) Housing and homelessness prevention services;
  • --(D) Job training;
  • --(E) Job creation;
  • --(F) Small business support.
  • (2) Public input shall be solicited through, at a minimum, an online form and five public hearings to be held:
  • -- (A) prior to the drafting of the first Commission report required by paragraph k below;
  • -- (B) at venues in communities significantly affected by policing practices and
  • -- (C) Located at dispersed geographic locations throughout STATE
  • -- (D) at times intended to maximize attendance; and
  • -- (E) With arrangements to submit testimony orally or in writing;
  • (iii) Develop and make recommendations regarding policy options to generate savings, increase public safety, and reinvest in communities through evidence-based practices, considering, at a minimum, community needs for:
  • (1) Youth programs;
  • (2) Mental health services;
  • (3) Housing and homelessness prevention services;
  • (4) Job training;
  • (5) Job creation;
  • (6) Small business support.
  • (iv) Engage in strategic planning for implementation of policy recommendations; and
  • (v) Develop a plan for measuring the impact of policy changes and reallocation of resources recommended by the Commission.
  • (vi) Make recommendations on an affirmative vote of a majority of its members.
(k) The Commission shall annually issue a report of its findings and recommendations for legislative and executive action, make the report available to the public online, and deliver the report to the Governor, Legislature, and Chief Justice of the STATE Supreme Court, with the first report being due no later than six months from the date this legislation is enacted.
  • (i) Within two months of the issuance of each report, the Commission shall hold at least two public hearings to solicit public comment on the report.
  • (ii) In the second annual and each subsequent report, the Commission shall include a summary of comments received at the public hearings, and DEPARTMENT’s response thereto.
(l) Reports prepared by the Commission shall detail which recommendations state DEPARTMENTS or others can pursue on their own without additional legislative action. Unless precluded by state or federal law, DEPARTMENTS may begin to enact recommendations immediately and shall issue public replies to Commission reports indicating whether recommendations can or will be acted on, or any obstacles faced by DEPARTMENT in acting upon them.
(m) For recommendations that would require additional action by the legislature, the Commission report shall include in the report specific requests and outlines of legislative action needed, including budget requests.
(n) The Commission shall be terminated upon submission of its sixth annual report, if not reconstituted by further legislative action or executive order.