Asheville: Policing Must Change! Call for our city leaders to make policy and budgetary commitments.
Tell City Council to vote against the $400,000 budget increase for APD in this year’s budget and commit to creating a strategic plan now to create viable alternatives to policing as well as allocating funds to begin resourcing action steps in this plan.
Policing, as we know it in America, was created to protect the property of slaveholders. Slaves’ movement and behavior had to be controlled to prevent loss — that control was enforced in the most brutal fashion. The beginning can be traced back to those Slave Patrols and Night Watches — the two institutional entities that evolved into what became modern police.
Today, black people are regularly criminalized while simply existing as black in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their cars, in public parks, walking down the street, and in spaces perceived to be white by white people. Black people are rarely served or protected by police!
In the recent past, a thousand Asheville residents have petitioned city leaders asking for millions from the city budget to be moved in service of the needs of the people, and called for a new way to insure the safety, wholeness, and well-being of each and every person in this city. The APD currently has a $29.6 million budget. Shifting significant funds from that budget toward funding action steps and goals in a strategic plan could quickly create viable alternatives to much of the current work of the police.
A serious strategic plan could look like creating a new city department of peace and well-being tasked with the care and safety of people and communities. Under this new department, there could be new roles to support the peace of the city and the well-being of its residents; unarmed support teams could be dispatched at a moments notice:
- A team of social workers, counselors, mediators/negotiators could be hired to be dispatched where needed to support individuals and families
- A team trained in domestic violence could be dispatched to homes as needed
- Neighborhood leaders could be hired and trained to be peer support mediators
- People assigned to handle the flow and safety of traffic
- People to uphold human and civil rights in housing, employment, etc.
- Services for healing stress and trauma
- Allocating funds toward investment in current and incubation of African American and Latinx owned businesses, equitable economic and educational opportunities, living wage jobs, affordable housing, transportation, poverty remediation alleviate the root causes of crime
Call on Asheville City Council to create a strategic action plan to create alternatives to policing and deny the $400,000 budget increase for Asheville Police Department in this year’s budget. We need to fund the things that truly keep us safe!
Sign the petition and spread the word!
Next Tuesday, June 9, 2020 is City Council’s public hearing on the budget. Call in to comment! Create a recorded public comment for this meeting by calling the free Public Input Line at 855-925-2801. Enter meeting code 8914.