[Don't forget to replace the [x]'s with your information!]
Dear County Commissioners,
I am writing to you as a concerned resident of Teton County.
Now, and in the year to come, our community will need to rely on social service organizations such as, but not limited to, One22, Public Health, and Hole Food Rescue at an increasing rate.
Our budget has always given the Sheriff's Department extreme financial priority at the expense of community service organizations, and the 2021 budget is no different. The Commissioners have decided not to decrease Human Services funding in the 2021 budget, but this is not enough. As more families begin to rely on these services, they should receive funding commensurate with the growing need.
I urge you to advocate for a meaningful reallocation of Teton County’s expenditures: away from policing, and towards social programs and resources that support housing, jobs, education, health care, childcare, and other critical community needs.
I urge you to:
- Significantly cut the Sheriff Department's projected $7.9 million budget
- Commit to enacting both a community needs survey to find out what we can do to provide for our most vulnerable community members, and a survey of local human services organizations to find out what help they need to best meet these needs, and
- Use the results of these surveys to advocate for a meaningful reallocation of Teton County's expenditures away from policing, and towards social programs and resources.
The police are not going to feed us when we're hungry. They are not going to house us when we can no longer pay our rent. They are not going to protect us from domestic violence—and statistically, are likely to perpetuate it themselves.
As a resident of Teton County, I want the use of my tax dollars to prioritize funding organizations that contribute to the well being of our community over funding policing.
I am hopeful that you will prioritize the wishes of your community in this matter.
This topic is currently at the center of conversations across the country. Los Angeles, New York City and Minneapolis have already taken steps to reallocate the financial resources of their police departments. More cities are likely to follow suit in the weeks, months and years to come.
A different future is possible. Please do not let our county continue to prioritize a fear-based "need" for policing over genuine community needs.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]