The Lansing city council has decided not to include a proposed police funding cut in its budget recommendation to the mayor.
Councilmembers Brandon Betz and Kathie Dunbar proposed cutting ten percent from the Lansing police budget every year for five years, with the money reinvested in social workers and other programs.
At Monday’s council meeting, Betz pushed for the cut in the coming fiscal year by reminding his colleagues that the council’s budget priorities are a wish list being sent to Mayor Andy Schor. “Do I think the mayor’s going to cut the police budget by ten percent? No way," Betz said. "He is not interested in that. He’s shown that he’s not interested in that.”
Councilmember Patricia Spitzley expressed a desire to put off recommending such a cut to Mayor Andy Schor, saying "generally, I’m supportive of looking at it. I just think that we need a little bit more time to look at the ramifications of a divesting of ten-percent of the budget.”
Betz and Dunbar were joined by councilmember Brian Jackson in the five to three vote against the resolution. Opposition centered on forcing cuts in officers on the streets before newly-hired social workers are in place. The council did promote the hiring of social workers who would not operate out of the police department.
After the 5-to-3 vote, Betz said he would hold councilmembers accountable for saying they want police resource divestment, if they never actually act to achieve it. Only councilmember Brian Jackson joined in support.