Fulop Statement On His Position On DeFunding Of Police

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop

 

 

Over the last two weeks, I have been doing my best to closely listen to the conversation happening – both nationally and locally – as our administration is always looking for ways to improve our city. We know this starts with feedback from residents.

 

Many of you have asked about our position on “defunding the police department.” I wanted to be clear with regards to my position and explain why I think “defunding the police” is not something that would work here in Jersey City.

 

First, for the last 6 years, our administration has proactively been shifting more resources to social services, while at the same time restructuring our police department. We didn’t need the last two weeks to tell us that change was needed.

 

As a result of this deliberate change, we have seen a larger investment in our libraries, recreation programs, health and human services, and youth development programs than ever before. Simultaneously, we are seeing historic lows in crime. Over this time, our social service programs have grown at a rate of 21.9% of the budget, while our police department budget has only grown by 6.4% – all this while keeping taxes on the municipal front flat for 5 out of the last 7 years.

 

Second, when you look at what we spend on our Jersey City Police Department versus the overall budget and compare that to other cities, it would be hard to argue that Jersey City is not ahead of the curve and moving in the right direction. As a percentage, we spend less than most cities already, while achieving better results.

 

Of course, I’m always willing to look at options to spend more money on social services. Our track record speaks to this with tangible results, but I’m not willing to take steps that would be counterproductive to public safety.

 

For people that say “defund the police department even more,” it is important to understand that in our current budget, the JCPD budget is 99% salaries. So that means that defunding the budget translates to officer layoffs. In government, layoffs (by law) don’t allow for an arbitrary selection of good performers vs. bad performers. Rather, layoffs in government mean that the last officers hired are the first to be let go.

 

I’m sure you would agree with me that laying off our newest police officers that happen to live in the city, that are the officers who represent the diversity in the JCPD, and are the officers that have been engaged with the community in a positive way is NOT the solution here.

 

Over the years, we have seen a historic decrease in crime within Jersey City and that is largely because of our investment in social services, recreation, re-entry programs, economic development AND public safety.

 

I’m going to continue listening to where we can improve and at the same time, do my best to keep you informed on your local government and our specific decisions.

 

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