Setting the Record Straight, the Real Facts Behind the Police Budget Reallocation

In this time of misinformation, it is absolutely critical (and quite frankly about time) for individuals to verify what they hear from some media outlets, social media and specific partisan organizations that are “looking out for you.”

Here’s an example of exactly that. Someone purposely misinforming you

I would laugh if this weren’t so serious.  Here are the real facts,

Even the word defund is misleading.

It does not mean disbanding. It does not mean abolishing, as those who try to “spin” the conversation into something it is not, as Councilor Farkas included his statements.

It means finding a better method of dealing with addiction, mental health, and a plethora of other issues that the Calgary Police Service has to shoulder.

Now let’s talk about Councillor Woolley’s Notice of Motion, Reallocating Policing Resources to Support Community Safety.

You can watch the entire conversation we had about this Notice of Motion on my YouTube page by clicking here

The point of issue I had with this Notice of Motion was the last therefore be it resolved, that said to reallocate $10M in 2021, and $10M in 2022. I raised the issue with the fact in the Notice that says to take money from the existing police budget.  

It should be noted, The Calgary Police Service talked about wanting to be a partner in the process of finding a better method, and a willingness to re-allocate some of their budget into supporting this Community Safety Investment framework.  

As you can see in the previous clip, I raised the issue of this Notice of Motion for being a little too forward in affecting the police budget. I suggested there has to be a better way to do this, especially if CPS has a desire and a willingness to be an active partner in this process.

Don’t believe me? How about the Chief of Police?

“We become the de facto response to everything, and it’s a reasonable conversation to say that perhaps we shouldn’t be, “

Chief Mark Neufeld told council in September that the force would make a financial commitment to support such an approach

Or how about Police Commission Chair Bonita Croft?

“It’s a win-win if we find models that can really help, because you get to reduce the demand for policing services by reducing the incident,”

Police Commission Chair Bonita Croft said the reallocation proposal arose from this year’s commitment to explore different crisis intervention models, and the dollar amount suggested came from the police service

These quotes are from a well done Calgary Herald Article. No spin, just facts.

You can read the full article by clicking here

Calgary Police Service is prepared to make a $40 million adjustment to the 2020 and 2021 budgets

Here’s the breakdown

  • The reduction totals $40 million, (that amount isn’t a direct cut to the current budget)
  • It includes removing $10 million from previously budgeted growth
  • a $20-million “absorption” of COVID-related impacts
  • ($11.75 million of COVID-related losses in 2020, with another approximate $8 million in 2021, this is the same as all city departments, are reducing costs due to the corona virus pandemic)
  • $10-million crisis response reallocation.
  • This will go towards exploring alternative call response models of system integration involving health, social services, justice and police in 2021
  • Net reduction comes to $18M (4% of next year’s police budget) in 2021

This sure doesn’t sound like a move to “appease extremists,” as Councillor Farkas has stated. (Sounds more like mayoral candidate rhetoric)

I wasn’t the only person, or Councillor to catch on, either

Click here for the link

And another link here

 What this sounds like, is a step in the right direction.

The intent with this Notice of Motion, is that if there is another organization that can deal with many of these calls (not all of them, because there is still a need for CPS assistance), then it would reduce the number of calls to CPS and further optimize their ability to prioritize and handle other situations.  

We should honor that desire to do better, but not demand a specific amount. I raised the issue of accepting the voluntary reallocation from CPS, whatever amount it is, and then proposed having The City find the remaining, up to $20M, from other sources like the Fiscal Sustainability Reserve.

I stated to the Mayor during council discussion that he recognize me at a later time for an amendment. Allowing Councilors to have a discussion on, and address their point of views and questions.

Low and behold, Councillor Farkas comes out and mimics my exact amendment, however taking all the money from the Fiscal Sustainability Reserve before even allowing me to place my own amendment.

I’ll be frank, he sidelines the CPS’ desire to be a willing partner.

Farkas’ amendment was defeated.

I was then able to place my amendment, which had an emphasis on the fact CPS has a desire to be a willing partner in supporting a process that would enable them to better deal with addictions, mental health, and other social issues.

My amendment was carried.  

The intent here is that if there is another organization that can deal with many of these calls (not all of them, because there is still a need for CPS assistance), then it would reduce the number of calls to CPS and further optimize their ability to prioritize and handle other situations.  

At no point in time has Council, the Police Commission, or the general public supported the idea of defunding or abolishing the Calgary Police Services.

Defund is a completely inaccurate and purposeful misstatement of the good work we are trying to accomplish here. What we are doing is reallocating funds, in order to invest in a framework of support that will better enable Calgary Police Services to deal with the many social issues that are thrust upon them.

Ultimately, this will be determined at a November budget hearing, and the amount will be determined by Calgary Police Service and by the Police Commissions, not by City Council. So tune in to Monday’s Nov 9, Special Meeting of Council. You can watch it live here (https://www.calgary.ca/ca/city-clerks/council-and-committee-webcasts.html)

Hungry for more truth?

If we abolish something, how about misinformation?

Let’s get into how a Councillor is appointed to a committee. All Councillors are provided a preference sheet that include all committees a Councillor can serve on. Committees such as Transportation and Transit, Planning and Urban Development, and yes, the Police Commission.  

All 14 Councillors fill out these sheets with the choices of committees we would like to serve on, which are then returned to City Clerks, who tabulates the preferences and creates a wish list of all the choices by all the councilors.

In the case of the Police Commission, Farkas was appointed for a 1-year term, which came to an end.

Councillor Gondek resigned, leaving 2 open positions.

According to the wish list, and nominations from the floor, more Coucnillors were interested in serving in this board than spots available.

In a case like this, as in all committee appointments, Councillors give a 2-minute speech, and then a ballot is placed to choose who will be selected.

At no time was there discussion about Farkas not serving because he refused to “defund the police.”

I implore all individuals once again, quit taking to heart many of the sound bites, false information and in some cases, the absolute untruths that are so prevalent in Calgary’s civic political world of today.

Please, during this time leading up to the next civic election, take a moment to dig into the facts. A small amount of research can go a long ways, especially when there are those who are so quick to attack others because they were given false claims and misinformation.