Dear Mayor Trantalis and Board of Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners,
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a resident of [YOUR CITY], Florida. I request that the Mayor and City Commission support our community and hear my call to:
- Defund the police department.
- Reallocate money to programs and city-led initiatives that support education, rehabilitation, public health, and community-oriented activities.
- Reject expanded and militarized police budgets.
- Improve oversight and independent investigations to hold individual law enforcement officers and police departments accountable for misconduct.
As the City of Fort Lauderdale creates the budget for Fiscal Year 2021, I urge you to listen to your constituents and defund the police department. According to the FY 2020 Proposed Budget, $130.4 million is proposed to be allocated to the police department while only $50.5 million goes to Parks and Recreation, $14 million to Sustainable Development, $5.4 million to Public Works, and $2.8 million to Transportation and Mobility.
It is unacceptable that a third of our city budget, $130 million, goes to the police, while critical departments such as Sustainable Development only receive $14 million. This is an unacceptable disparity in funding. I ask you to take a stand and support Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color in your community by allocating funds to other essential social services.
Moreover, I ask that you implement constructive and necessary changes to demilitarize the police department and keep our community safe. Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in war, yet our own officers employed tear gas on peaceful protestors on Sunday, May 31st at the Black Lives Matter gathering. Tear gas should not be used under any circumstance. City funds should go towards social programs and resources that support critical community needs--not chemical weapons, military-style equipment, and new infrastructure for police.
Since the 1970s, U.S. spending on police has nearly tripled, reaching $114.5 billion in 2017, with much of that funding going towards detention centers. This is an unnecessary use of our resources. Lawmakers in at least 16 U.S. cities have proposed or made pledges that would divest resources from the police. As a country, we are hurting and demand change from our elected officials.
I urge you to reimagine the way the justice system works in Fort Lauderdale. This means investing in our community’s long-term health and prosperity and, in doing so, decreasing the demand for such an expensive police force. Until the city of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County do this, we are failing to serve communities of color.
I urge you to adopt a budget that prioritizes community well-being through education, health care, and social services while redirecting funding away from police and incarceration. As one of your constituents, I’m asking you to take immediate, concrete action on this issue. I will be sure to tell my friends, family, and neighbors about your response.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE ]