Defund SLCPD! Reinvest in Communities!

Defund SLCPD! Reinvest in Communities!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!


Dear Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake City Council,

The country is embroiled in an uprising for Black lives and against police violence and racial terror. Nationwide protests, sparked by the heinous police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, have now entered their third week and further exposed a racist and anti-Black system of policing. Momentum grows around the call to defund local police departments and reinvest in community resources that have been systematically denied to Black, brown, and poor people. We call on you to defund SLCPD now! For decades, state and local police departments and prisons across the country have seen their budgets skyrocket while funds for education, housing, healthcare, public transit, and jobs that pay a living wage have been slashed. What is the outcome of such backwards priorities? Over the last four decades, leaders at the local, state, and federal levels have systematically denied already marginalized people resources, services, and dignity, effectively imposing crisis upon communities and then terrorizing them with police and mass incarceration. Salt Lake City is no different. 

Enough is enough; we no longer accept this status quo. Mayor Mendenhall’s budget has allocated nearly $85 million for SLCPD, an unconscionable 16% increase since 2018, while housing is set to receive $23.2 million and transit $4.7 million. This is unacceptable and given the ongoing uprising, absolutely out of touch. We will not allow this budget to stand. We demand the defunding of the SLCPD and reinvestment of these funds into housing, healthcare, education, and other community services for communities of color and poor communities. At the same time that the city has increased the police budget, the Utah department of education is shamefully recommending a $380 million reduction in education spending. With $30 million defunded from SLCPD, the city can hire 235 new school teachers and give all teachers a 20% raise. These funds can provide medical insurance for 5,530 people. To replace jobs in the police force, we demand quality jobs in community services. Further, police play too many roles that should be fulfilled by workers with knowledge of mental healthcare, homelessness, and drug rehabilitation among other issues. Dangerous police escalation in these situations is part of a policing model that has made communities less safe, which is why defunding cannot wait. We must look to alternative models of community safety that strengthen non-police emergency responders. Additionally, we support the creation of a community coalition to draw up plans for the redirection of these funds, as city leaders should take the lead from the most impacted groups. Already, other cities across the country have moved to defund their police departments. The Minneapolis city council intends to vote in favor of dismantling the Minneapolis police department and reinventing policing and community safety. The city of Los Angeles has pledged to lower its police budget by at least $100 million, a step in the right direction though nowhere near enough given that the budget is an overall increase from previous years. The mayor of New York has vowed to cut the city’s police budget. Portland schools have moved to eliminate police from schools and redirect these funds to school and community programs. Elected officials in cities like Nashville and Denver, too, are weighing the call to defund police. Mayor Mendenhall and Salt Lake City Council, what will you do? Will you stand on the right side of history, or will you enable the continuation of a racist status quo whose pillars are police terror and mass incarceration? We refuse to stand by as Salt Lake City police engage in racial profiling and brutality. We demand that the SLCPD officers who murdered Bernardo Palacios and others be brought to justice. Yet we cannot stop at holding individual officers accountable. We demand that you defund SLCPD now, and reinvest these funds in resources and services that ensure the true safety, survival, and thriving of our communities.