(Please add a couple of sentences in your own words to avoid filters. )
To Mayor-President Josh Guillermo and the Lafayette City Council,
My name is [INSERT NAME] and I am a resident of [YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD]. I am writing to demand that the Lafayette City Council adopt a budget that prioritizes community well-being, and redirects funding away from the police.
In the most recent city budget, a staggering $34.7 million was allocated to the Lafayette Police Department . Louisiana also has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, which disproportionately affects Black residents (over 60% of incarcerated individuals in Louisiana were Black as of the 2010 U.S. Census).
Less than $6 million is allocated for vital community programs, including employment support programs, social services, and economic and housing assistance provided by the Office of Community Development . The current city budget conveys that law enforcement is almost six times more important than community development. I do not believe that this aligns with most residents' values or indicates that we are, per our Vision Statement, a “caring community of families, friends and neighbors who bring a can-do attitude toward bettering the community” .
We must reallocate funds from the police department to programs proven to more effectively promote a safe and equitable community and that address economic disparities, including Lafayette's 15% poverty rate . Suitable programs could include community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, affordable housing programs, and more. I demand a budget that reflects the actual needs of Lafayette residents.
History has shown that police “reform” is not effective in meeting these goals. We must take a hard look at the ways that the current system in place fails to serve–and in fact, actively harms–our community, and come together to reimagine the role of police in our city. I strongly urge you to remove funding from police departments and reallocate it to social services that make a meaningful difference for the citizens of Lafayette.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR PHONE][YOUR EMAIL]