GUELPH POLITICAST #258 – They Had a Plan to “Defund the Police”

“Defund the Police” is a simple three-word slogan for a complex idea. Some people mistakenly think that it means literally taking away all police funding, but more precisely it means re-examining how police services are funded, and rededicating that money to social programs. It’s easier said than done, but a group of folks in Waterloo actually came up with a real plan to defund the police.

Like many towns and cities, there was Black Lives Matter march in downtown Kitchener last June. Fast forward a few months, and the Waterloo Region Police presented a request for  an additional $5.3 million in their 2021 budget, and not only did many activists see this request as a bit tone deaf, but the police budget represented the only increase to Waterloo Region’s 2021 budget.

During the budget process, a group called ReAllocate WR came forward with a proposal of their own: Half of the proposed $5 million police budget increase would go to build a police-free public safety model led by local community groups disproportionately, and the other half would go to transit, community health, social services and other initiatives that attack the root issues of crime. ReAllocate’s vision would not come to pass, but they did plant the seed of an idea, so how did they do it, and what comes next?

This week on the podcast, Teneile Warren of ReAllocate WR will talk about the origins of the group, and how they came up with their recommendations for council. She also discusses the counterarguments from Waterloo Region Police Chief Bryan Larkin, and how Reallocate feels about the end result at last week’s final vote on the budget. And finally, she will talk about the next steps, and how ReAllocate will be staying on top of Regional Council with the two minor victories they were able to achieve.

So let’s talk about how you make a plan to “Defund the Police” on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

You can can learn more about ReAllocate WR and their plan to re-invest in the community on their website. For a local angle you can scroll down on your podcast player and listed to the interview we did with Chief Gord Cobey of the Guelph Police Service on last week’s episode of Open Sources Guelph.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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