To Mayor Medina, Vice Mayor Salazar, San Bruno City Council, and elected and appointed officials,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of San Bruno. As the nation grapples with the devastating, brutal deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (among so many others) and the economic impact of COVID-19, I am writing to express my strong concerns with the San Bruno Police Department budget.
Accordingly, it has come to my attention that the meeting on 2nd Budget Hearing & Adoption for fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 is scheduled for June 23. I am astonished to learn that the SBPD, with a single police station, received 38.6% of the General Fund amended budget in FY 2019-20 and will receive $19.3 million (39.1%) in the proposed FY 2020-21 budget, more than the proposed budgets of Public Works, Community Development, and Community Services combined . The SBPD budget is excessive for a small town, and I am alarmed to see that San Bruno’s forecasted financial plan projects an increase to almost $23 million in spending for FY 2024-25 on police despite historic unemployment, economic instability, and popular resistance to widespread police abuses. This is even more astonishing considering the small, small numbers of officers who have graduated from a crisis training program: an estimated 9 in 2019-20 and a target 6 in 2020-21 . I am deeply concerned about the priorities of the SBPD and San Bruno in general.
The 2020-21 goal of expanding services to unhoused persons is certainly a noble one, but I am left wondering why such services are being rendered by police rather than trained counselors or experts in homelessness, substance use, and trauma. Similarly, I am alarmed by the extensive presence of officers in schools and concerned that youth-centered programming seems to be under the purview of the police department rather than the library or Recreation Services—or trained educators and counselors in general.
We must consider how far that 39.1% of the General Fund budget would go toward other non-violent, prevention-oriented services that address our livelihoods and humanity such as health services (include mental health services) social services, infrastructure, childcare assistance, homelessness services, libraries, and our parks and recreation services. Overall, we need to reimagine public safety to address root causes of community distress.
I call on you to amend and slash the FY 2020-21 SBPD budget and instead apply these resources towards these stated alternatives. I hope that our city does indeed have enough heart to make bold changes that uplift us all and establish a positive, nurturing foundation for generations to come.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]