PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On the heels of the protests, Philadelphia City Council held a public hearing on Wednesday about a proposal to increase the police budget by millions. City Council had a lot of questions.
A flurry of intense questions for Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw came during Wednesday’s City Council budget hearing. The commissioner was peppered with questions about the police department’s proposed $14 million budget increase for the fiscal year 2021.
“We expect to pay for these programs by decreasing our police overtime,” Outlaw said.
Other city departments like public health, housing, social services, libraries, parks and youth programs have all seen budget cuts in the wake of the city’s economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s proposed budget would allocate $760 million to the police department. Outlaw said any cuts would equate to layoffs on the heels of ongoing protests of George Floyd’s death.
“The bulk of the budget is personnel. So if we’re talking real cuts, we’re talking about laying off police officers,” Outlaw said, “And honestly don’t think that’s a conversation, although it’s probably something that should be discussed. But I don’t think given this time, what we’ve experienced in the last several days, is something we should really consider.”
Outlaw says the additional money would go toward implicit bias training for officers, more body cameras for police and a detailed strategy to combat the city’s rising homicide rate.
This comes as protesters and city leaders demand police reform and accountability.
“It’s clear Philadelphians are hungry for change,” Democratic Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said. “They are in the streets day after day. They are organizing and they are flooding our offices with letters and calls, and they are not going to take no for an answer. And in response, it’s time for us to seriously consider what decreasing our investment in policing in its current formation and reimagining public safety in Philadelphia would actually mean.”