Step 3: Identify Reinvestments
Investing in communities is the best way to build real safety. Any effort to examine and rethink a police department budget should not be conducted in isolation from efforts to reinvest in other programs that create safety. These reinvestments should be a mix of reinvestment into social programs that support communities to thrive (such as affordable housing, youth programs, etc.) and programs that take on functions previously performed by the police (such as violence interruption programs, non-police emergency response programs, etc.). Both of these elements are vitally important to creating real public safety where BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income communities can thrive without the threat of police violence or incarceration and also have people and places to turn to when emergencies or acts of violence occur.
Together, these reinvestments will work to redefine our notion of what constitutes public safety, creating infrastructure that builds true public safety for all communities.
In envisioning how to resource and deliver services that have the potential to replace police work and functions, it is critical to create these alternative programs in such a way that demonstrates efficacy and a need for expansion. As many localities have moved to create non-police crisis response programs, for example, most have launched these programs in a manner that allows them to target a certain geography or a type of call-for-service, then demonstrate a clear proficiency in fulfilling that function without the involvement of police. In doing so, these programs make the case that police are not necessary in the provision of certain crisis response needs and that the program ought to be expanded, thereby steadily reducing the police’s role in this function. With the foundation of a successful program established, a stronger case can be made to reallocate funding for the purpose of expansion.
Black communities, Indigenous communities, immigrant communities, low-income communities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and others--those most affected by overpolicing, police violence, and incarceration--should identify reinvestment priorities. Usually kept out of key decision-making processes, especially about police and correctional policies, these communities must play a key role in defining what public safety should look like. They also have deep experiential and other knowledge that is vitally important to reimagining public safety structures.
In this section you will find options and examples for reinvestment goals as well as resources and guidance on strategies for community engagement around reinvestment.