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72 Fla. L. Rev. 277 (2020)
Police Funding

handle is hein.journals/uflr72 and id is 276 raw text is: 


                  Stephen Rushin  & Roger Michalski*

   A  number  of civil rights activists have called for the defunding or
abolition of American police departments. These  activists claim that the
United  States overinvests in police, leaving fewer scarce resources to
support   other  government    services.  Activists  also   claim  that
overinvestment   in  policing contributes  to  higher  rates of  police
misconduct  and unnecessary criminalization, particularly in communities
of color.
   This  Article considers these calls for the defunding  of  police. It
ultimately cautions against widespread defunding of police and offers an
alternative proposal. Part I brings together multiple national databases on
local government  expenditures  to evaluate empirically how  states and
municipalities fund policing. It shows that local police funding varies
remarkably  across jurisdictions. Much  of this variation exists because
police departments derive funding primarily from local sales and property
taxes. Because of this funding mechanism,  economically  disadvantaged
communities  most  in need of public-safety services can often least afford
   Part II argues that the defunding of police departments on a wide scale
may  have significant and unintended consequences.  This Article argues
that defunding  could  increase crime rates, hamper  efforts to control
officer misconduct,   and reduce   officer safety. Faced  with  smaller
budgets, defunded  agencies  may  also seek additional revenue through
potentially harmful  means   like excessive  ticketing and  civil asset
forfeitures. Defunding could push the delivery of public-safety services
to the private sector. And defunded agencies may ultimately lower officer
salaries, thereby  limiting  recruitment  and   retention of  qualified
   Given  these drawbacks, this Article remains skeptical that defunding
will improve policing in many  jurisdictions. Instead, this Article argues
that states should fundamentally  reimagine how   they fund the police.
States should view policing as a public good that ought to be equitably
distributed across the population according to need. Just as some  state
legislatures have passed revenue-sharing initiatives designed to equalize
the availability of public goods such as education, so too should states act
to equalize the funding of local police departments according  to need.
This would  ensure that all localities have minimally sufficient resources

     *  Stephen Rushin is an Associate Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School
of Law. Roger Michalski is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College
of Law. We thank our colleagues who provided advice and comments throughout the development
of this Article. We also thank the editorial staff at the Florida Law Review.


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