Dear St. Petersburg City Council and Mayor Rick Kriseman,
My name is [NAME] and I am a resident of St. Petersburg, FL. I am writing to you in regards to the national outcry over the murder of George Floyd, and concern over the conduct of the St. Petersburg Police Department. This past week, our nation has been gripped by protests calling for a rapid and meaningful reconsideration of the role of policing in communities as well as an end to racism and anti-Blackness in America. Our city has been at the forefront of much of this action. Accordingly, it has come to my attention that the budget for 2021 is being decided as these protests continue.
The proposed FY21 proposed city budget increases the budget for police. Upon reviewing this budget, I have noticed that 38.85% of the general fund is dedicated to our police departments. This amounts to a staggering $116,367,838 for the police. We also are planning to add another 25 full-time police officers, expanding our police force. I demand that the City Council begin meaningfully defunding the St. Petersburg Police Department and re-allocate those funds to programs proven to more effectively promote a safe and equitable community: community-based mental health services, substance abuse treatment services, job creation, affordable housing programs, and more. I demand a budget that reflects the actual needs of St. Petersburg residents.
History has shown that police "reform" is not enough. I believe the City Council must take a hard look at the ways that the current system in place fails to serve, and in fact actively harms, our community, for example through police brutality and incarceration. We must come together to reimagine the role of police in our city. I believe that a new city, safe and beautiful, can be created for all people of St. Petersburg who call this place their home. Through listening and learning from the communicated demands, needs, and desires of the Black community, St. Petersburg can be a sustainable and safe city for today and tomorrow.
Thank you for your time,
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]