My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of Newark. I urge you to redirect money away from the NPD and into social service programs that will benefit public health and our own communities. Police reforms have not solved police violence: the Minneapolis Police Department had already implemented many reforms, and George Floyd was still murdered. I urge that you take radical steps to defund the police and move towards the goal of reimagining public safety without a police department, per 8 to Abolition (8toabolition.com).
Newark's 2019 Municipal Budget shows that $154,625,090 was spent on the Division of Police. This is by far the largest fraction of the city's budget, which is over double the second largest allocation of funds (Division of Fire's $72,354,451). It's an egregious statistic compared to $9,407,451 spent on the entire Department of Health and Community Wellness, $3,504,842 on the Department of Economic and Housing Development, and just $359,239 to the Division of Cultural Affairs. If this is truly representative of the council’s thoughts on how funds should be allocated in a city in which one in every 3.5 residents live in poverty (see source below), I am ashamed to call Newark my home.
I am writing to demand that the budget will be spent promoting the safety and well-being of Newark's current residents, rather than arresting, displacing, or incarcerating my neighbors. We don't need a militarized police force. To fight crime, we need to create a space in which more mental health service providers, social workers, victim/survivor advocates, religious leaders, neighbors, and friends - all of the people who really make up our community - can look out for one another. I am writing to insist that the upcoming budget hearings for FY 2021 reflect the voices and needs of Newark’s citizens and that changes are made to NPD's policies.
Mayor Baraka and city councilors, will you look out for me and our beloved community?
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE]