Providing Sufficient Funding for Our Police Department
Keeping Our Police Department Funded
At a June commission meeting, one of the other candidates for Seat 3 read a letter to the commission. It recommended that the city, "Divert previously allocated resources from CSPD toward investment in unarmed crisis first responders, trained mental health providers, and code enforcement. "
I am extremely concerned about this approach. What first started on the national scene as "Defund the Police," has now matured into "Reallocate the Resources." In both cases, the residents may pay a serious price if such advice is followed.
The police department’s budget is an important reason that the CSPD has been able to do such a good job, and even to provide the life-saving skills that were necessary to save many lives at Stoneman-Douglas. The question is simply, where do we cut the funds in the department’s budget in order to be able to have funds to go toward these other areas? We have incredible community outreach aspects of our police department, do we cut those budgets and stop programs such as the Summer Breakspot for underserved kids? Training is vitally important for any department, and Coral Springs has incredible training for its officers. But training is expensive. Do we divert funds from our training budget, impacting our department’s ability to respond with the same level of professionalism as they do at this time? If we are concerned about how our police officers interact with the members of our community, that would indicate that more training, not less is needed. We have been requiring a four-year-degree in Coral Springs as a way of bringing in quality candidates to our police department. If we want to retain good officers, we need to pay them. If we don’t, we will pour training dollars into our new recruits, only to see them hired by cities that are paying more than we are. If we want to keep our police officers safe, we need to continue to upgrade our equipment so that they are able to do their jobs in the safest and most professional manner. Diverting any significant funds from our police department will come at a cost, the only question is, “Who will pay?” The answer is, our residents.
Our city is currently ranked among the safest cities in the state. Obviously, our Police Department has a major role in how safe our community is. Many of our residents have moved to Coral Springs because it is a place of safety and peace. Before we launch into an untested social experiment which would damage our police department's ability to keep our community safe at the levels our citizens have come to expect, we should carefully study the impact of such ideas and learn from other communities that implement such change. I believe the impact on such communities will be sobering. At the very least, when we can easily learn from what others are doing, it seems unwise to risk so much by rushing into such changes without knowing their true cost to our community.