Boston City Councilors consider mayor’s plan to cut police budget

A Boston City Council committee on Thursday plans to discuss Boston Mayor Michelle’s Wu proposal to trim the police department budget.

Wu wants to allocate about $396 million to the police next fiscal year, down roughly 1% from this year.

The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the department’s largest police union, warned that even a 1% cut could hurt public safety.

“If ever there were a time to invest in public safety, hire more police officers and value the service and sacrifice of our public safety workforce, it’s now,” said union president Larry Calderone said in a statement.

In a recent interview with WBUR’s Radio Boston, Wu pointed out there are limits to how much the city can trim police spending. That’s partly because the city needs to maintain staffing and officers are entitled to be paid for overtime, which has exceeded the initial budget the past two years.

Jamarhl Crawford, a community activist who served on the Boston Police Reform Task Force, said he thinks too much attention is spent focusing on the budget numbers. He thinks the city should focus instead on other items related to public safety, such as police discipline and accountability.

“The budget’s going to happen. It goes up, it goes down,” he said. “If they cut the budget by 20%, if they cut the budget by 30%, that does not change the fundamental problems of what we’ve been dealing with, with the product that is delivered to my community.”

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