LANSING, Mich. — It’s no longer just protesters calling to defund the Lansing Police Department. Now a city council member is making an official push to cut the police budget in half.
Council member Brandon Betz is looking to form a committee of community members to look at defunding the police and giving that money to local organizations. Those organizations have not yet been chosen.
The committee will make recommendations to the city council on what to cut from the budget and where to reallocate that money. Its goal is to reduce the police budget by 50% in five years.
“I think that we can have a police department,” Betz said. “We can just not fund it. I think that is the answer. If there’s no way for us to disband the police department per se, we can just not fund the police department and have a different department that we fund for public safety.”
The plan comes at a price. Betz said it will likely mean less police officers on the street.
A month ago, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, with the backing of Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green and the city’s human relations department, moved $170,000 to an anti-racism fund.
“Rather than actually reinvest them where they were needed, he’s pooling them into a pot of funds that has no plan, no direction and is actually an insult in terms of its amount and the impact that it could have,” said Angela Waters Austin, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Lansing.
Betz worked with Black Lives Matter Lansing and The Firecracker Foundation in forming this idea. He plans to introduce the resolution at next Monday’s council meeting.
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