Increase, Don’t decrease APD budget

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to the City Council

Dear Marilyn, John, Tony, Jim and Malia,
We can all agree that the recent death of George Floyd was a terrible injustice and that measures should be taken to promote more equity and justice, but your vilification of our police department under the guise of seeking social justice and the threat to defund their budget by up to 42 percent is not what we expect of our “leaders”.

Most people in our community appreciate our dedicated men and women in blue that put their lives on the line to protect our community and I regret that their budget has already been defunded to the extent that it has. At one time not too long ago, we were budgeted for 100 sworn officers and now we have about 30 percent fewer officers.

Who would want to do this job now, particularly in this hostile environment? Do you think we are going to attract the best and brightest particularly now when disheartened officers may be inclined to seek other jobs where they are not scapegoated?

If we are to expect more of our police force, we should consider increasing their budget, not decreasing it, to provide for more and better training and a more rigorous selection process. We should be able to have a rational discussion about what service we want our police to perform and perhaps shift some of those services elsewhere but that should be in an environment of good faith and not one of hostility.

We have seen the result of your philosophy in action in cities that have demonized the police and cut their budgets. Look at the dramatic increase in violent crime across the nation in such cities as Seattle, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Minneapolis and Washington D.C. When the criminals know they won’t be challenged, they are even more emboldened to their nefarious acts. It is no coincidence that these cities have “leadership” that share your philosophy. Is that what we want in our fair city? Do you want that to be your legacy?

You have no higher responsibility as city leaders than to provide for the safety of the community but your desire to follow the mob and score cheap political points will have long faded when the residents of Alameda are stuck living with the inevitable wave of criminality that is left in your wake as a result of the actions you are considering. Please consider a more rational approach.

— Edward Kofman