Defund the police. It was a phrase shouted across the country and right here in Indiana in 2020, but now it’s on the table of state lawmakers.
State Senator Mike Bohacek has authored Senate Bill 42, which would prevent public safety budget cuts of more than 5-percent in the middle of the year. Senator Bohacek tells WISH-TV that his bill has some support from local Hoosier communities.
“There’s support for this,” Senator Bohacek tells WISH-TV, “I think people just want to feel secure and they want to know that certain things are not going to go away.”
In addition to protecting police budgets in the present, the bill would also protect police budgets in the future. The bill states that as long as revenue is flat or improving, local municipalities would not be allowed to cut more than 5-percent from their local police budget in the future.
Bohacek says the bill is a means of protecting lawmakers from being pressured into doing something they may not want to do. He tells WISH-TV, “We’re acting deliberatively and that we don’t have elected officials that are feeling bullied into doing these things. It’s just good policy. We’re just providing some guardrails for them.”
Senate Bill 42 is still in committee, with a few proposed amendments. It’s expected to come back up for discussion next week.
Senator Bohacek says even though police budget cuts have not been an issue across the state, it’s something that has to be addressed.
“Has it happened statewide? No,” Bohacek tells WISH-TV. “But let’s be really honest. There’s been a quite a bit of talk and when you spray-paint defund the police on the building and sidewalk, it’s going to get some action. We just need to make sure our citizens feel it’s not something that’s going to be brought into the conversation.”