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Possibilities of defunding police departments

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LA CROSSE, WIS. (WXOW) - Around the country, people are protesting for social reform. One aspect of that is people calling for defunding police departments.

The action of defunding a police department would seek spending cuts to police forces that have consumed part of a city budget and allocate those funds elsewhere in the community.

The leading law enforcement association in Wisconsin says people are for a well-funded police force. The Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) has data to back that up.

From a poll conducted by a research team at St. Norbert College in 2019, the research objective was to gauge the public's perception of local police departments and their role in the communities they serve.

Results in that poll show that a majority of respondents, both white (86%) and non-white residents (68%), agree that having a well-funded police force improves the quality of life.

"Defunding the police, whatever that may mean to different groups, even substantial reductions in police spending, those are the types of programs that would fall by the wayside," said Executive Director of the WPPA, Jim Palmer.

"That is to say, reducing spending on police and law enforcement would compromise the police programs that communities of color value the most," added Palmer.

The poll was collected before the call for social reform. A new 2020 report was being complied before the interruption of COVID-19. When the 2020 report comes through, we will share it.

Peaceful protesters in La Crosse have asked the La Crosse Police Department to be more transparent and that includes information about funding which the department added on a new website. However, these protesters are also looking for a more declarative plan to end racial injustice.

The La Crosse Police Department operates under a budget of just under $12 million.

Declan Levy

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