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Lansing city council takes up proposal intended to reduce police budget

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Monday, the Lansing city council may take a step toward considering slashing the city’s police department budget by 50%.

Councilman Brandon Betz says his proposal is about “re-envisioning public safety”.

“This is about removing the police from our public safety infrastructure and replacing it with something new, something that’s non-violent, and something that’s anti-racist” says Betz. “And the only way to do that is to defund the racist institution of policing.”

Betz's proposal calls for the formation of a committee to study ways to redirect money currently spent on law enforcement to social services and anti-poverty programs.

He says the budget changes wouldn’t take place all at once, but could be phased in over time.

Proposals to “defund” police departments have the support of the Black Lives Matter movement, though such proposals are opposed by those who fear it will weaken local law enforcement.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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