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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Dallas City Council Moves to ‘Defund’ Police Overtime Again

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Citing “local control” and “fiscal responsibility,” eight Dallas City Council members took another $10 million out of the proposed police overtime budget—bringing the total to nearly double last year’s amount.

Defund” means “to withdraw funding from.”

Last week, Dallas Councilmember Adam Bazaldua—who spearheaded last year’s defunding effort—successfully withdrew $3.4 million from the more than $22 million proposed for police overtime in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. It’s forecast that more than $34 million will have been spent by the end of the current fiscal year.

By a vote of 8-7 on Thursday, Mayor Pro Tem Chad West successfully moved to withdraw an additional $10 million to a separate reserve account for police overtime. Supportive council members denied this was defunding the police and stated that they support the police.

Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Reich said the money could only be used for Dallas Police Department overtime and would be released after a request to the appropriate committee.

Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn, who opposed West’s amendment, got the Public Safety Committee designated to be where the briefing about overtime “imbalances” would occur, and where DPD Chief Eddie Garcia can ask to restore the funds.

Councilmember Omar Narvaez added a trigger for the committee to hold the hearing after the DPD overtime audit requested by Mayor Eric Johnson is released; the city auditor expects the audit in late October or early November. Johnson opposed West’s amendment.

Local Control

West stated the first intent for his amendment. “It gives us as council more flexibility in the future if there are budget problems based on COVID or anything else, and I think that’s particularly important given the restrictions that the state has now imposed on municipalities.”

Mendelsohn disputed, saying this gives “flexibility” as DPD’s overall budget is increasing. “[In our] current year,

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