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Ross: How to manage the clash over police budgets

Protesters in front of police on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Around the country, police departments are trying to figure out what it means to be defunded.

In New York City, a billion dollars will be shifted from the New York Police Department to youth and social services.

In Los Angeles, the council cut the police budget by $150 million. That’s not enough, said Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter.

“It does not reflect the type of fundamental reimagining of public safety that’s necessary to protect Black life,” Abdullah said recently.

In Seattle, Police Chief Carmen Best released a video warning that the council’s proposed new budget would mean firing or transferring 1,100 employees – half the total workforce – starting in October.

“I do not believe we should ask the people of Seattle to test out a theory that crime goes away if police go away — that is completely reckless,” she said.

It’s happening across the country – police budgets are cut, and protest leaders are saying we need to cut more.

So, how about something really radical? Give the budget book to some of protesters and hire them to go through it.

They draw lines through the items they want cut, and sign their names. They get the credit if it works, and the blame if it doesn’t.

Protests are great for raising awareness, but it all seems to fall apart in the budget process. And I realize that’s the boring part. But for demonstrators who risked tear gas, sting balls, and even bullets, risking boredom should be easy.

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