Re-fund Our Community: Speak Up 6/7, 6/14 & 6/21/21
Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Investing more in vitalizing our communities than policing them is a no-brainer.
Here's Your Chance to Make It Happen.
Pro-Community is Not Anti-Police.
We are not budget experts; rather, we are average people like you, who simply delved into our City Budget, and found concerning disparities. Our goal is to present you with clear information to empower you to speak up for our community needs.
Pasadena's Proposed Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 currently prioritizes policing above all else. The Budget will be discussed on June 7, and likely voted upon on June 21.
Should we continue to prioritize the overabundant funding of a police department that surveils, brutally beats, and even kills some of our community members with apparent impunity?
We must re-imagine policing, and that starts with re-investing in our community.
A Necessary Shift in Funding from Police Must Occur to Prioritize Our City’s Desperate Need to improve Youth Outreach, Homelessness, Affordable Housing, Mental Health, Public Health, and other Community Services.
We ask you to educate yourself on the budget, and raise your voice with us as we demand accountability and better use of our resources at the Monday, June 7th, 4:30pm City Council Meeting discussing the Pasadena Police Department Budget.
The Budget, in its entirety, can be viewed here.
PPD may claim it is "defunding" itself by:
Giving $10,000 from abundant Asset Forfeiture funds to two community groups (Proposed Budget, pg 168).
Voluntarily "funding" a second Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT), which aims to assist people experiencing homelessness, living with chronic health conditions, diagnosed with mental health and/or substance use disorders, by re-directing $225,000 from its General Fund Operating Budget (Proposed Budget, pg 163).
This re-allocation of our community dollars is insufficient to meet community demand (e.g. PORT has limited hours of availability and no mental health professional).
Re-allocating our community dollars in this way allows PPD to maintain a position of control.
The City should directly fund critical programs instead of providing PPD with a budget surplus from which they can "charitably give," when politically beneficial.
PPD reportedly saved $2.3 million from its prior Operating Budget (5/3/21 Agenda Item 9, attachment D, page 4 and City Manager Mermell's verbal comments May 10, 2021, approximate time stamp 2:20:00).
Per Chief Perez, this was accomplished by hiring less officers than budgeted (Spoken comments at 5/19/21 Public Safety Committee Meeting).
Rather than re-investment in the community, these operational funds have already been approved for remodeling the police department (including new break rooms and an open floor concept) and a new Mobile Command Center that will communicate directly with the surveillance technology in PPD's helicopter.
We assert that PPD's FY 2022 Operating Budget should decrease by at least this $2.3 million, which were clearly non-essential to their operations.
Pasadena Police Department Budget Research by two UCLA School of Law Attorneys sheds light on a number of issues. (Although Pasadena's spokesperson negatively responded to the study, the actual research data were not refuted.)
PPD's budget trends upward over time.
These statistics provide evidence of economic and racial disparities in Pasadena arrests, and point toward a need for the funding of community intervention and policing alternatives.
While the City has asserted that Pasadena events like the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade make PPD exceptional in its need for police overtime requirements, police officers in other departments also cover large events (e.g. Dodger Stadium, The Staples Center, community protests). The City has not clearly stated how much of its overtime pay is spent on Rose Bowl events. The Virani, Gasser-Ordaz study accounted for the fact that Pasadena was reimbursed $2.5 million for outside overtime in 2019; the remainder of overtime pay is from PPD, via our City Budget funding.
Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) is an innovative community-based public safety system that provides mental health first-response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.
CAHOOTS has been found to be safe and cost effective.
In 2017, the Eugene, Oregon CAHOOTS teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume.
The program costs about $2.1 million annually and saves the city of Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.
Pasadena could benefit from a CAHOOTS-model program.
In April 2021, PPD received 9,707 calls for service, including 4,684 911 calls.
It is unclear how many of these calls were related to non-life-threatening situations involving mental illness, homelessness and/or addiction.
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine discusses an estimated 25-50% of fatal encounters with law enforcement involving individuals with mental illness.
How many unnecessary police interactions and arrests could be avoided if Pasadena employed such a system? (Also, consider the associated taxpayer-funded criminal justice system costs)
85% of costs for a CAHOOTS-model program in Pasadena could be eligible for reimbursement under the American Rescue Plan Act (Section 9813), if certain requirements are met, including having a qualified mental health professional capable of conducting an assessment of individuals available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.
Pasadena's current PORT and Homeless Outreach Psychiatric Evaluation (HOPE) teams do not have 24/7 qualified mental health professionals available.
Pasadena's arrest statistics (32% of Pasadenans arrested were unhoused) point to the need for a CAHOOTS-model program
Although agendized for the November 30, 2020 Public Safety Committee meeting, quorum was not met, and CAHOOTS has not been agendized since then.
Re-funding our community should include initiation of a Public Health Department-funded CAHOOTS-model program in Pasadena to enable trained, mental health professionals to assist community members in non-life-threatening crises instead of PPD.
This would save PPD time and resources, allowing them to focus on violent crime, and preventing unnecessary armed response to non-life-threatening community member crises.
Advance Peace is a California Gun Violence Program which employs formerly incarcerated community members to engage with residents of gun-troubled neighborhoods to stop crime.
The Advance Peace program has been found to reduce violence, save lives, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Advance Peace in Stockton costed less than $1 million ($891,280) over TWO Years
It Saved the City at least, an approximate $42.3 million dollars
View the detailed UC Berkeley study findings here
The Advance Peace Program was effective at reducing gun homicides and assaults without police officer involvement.
Public Health Programs like these play a role that police cannot and likely never will, in vulnerable communities.
For less than 1% of the $92 million PPD budget, our City could fund an Advance Peace program in Pasadena.