It was a night full of heated discussion during Wednesday night’s city council meeting, mainly about the city's proposed budget. The city plans to increase the budget for the police department. However, others say that money belongs elsewhere.
One Bakersfield resident said, “the city disgusts me. You are all incompetent and I don't want you using my taxpayer money to fund your white supremacist's institution.”
The proposed budget for the police department is approximately 42% of the city's general fund. That proposal would then open the door for 45 new jobs within BPD. And some locals support that plan, saying the future needs police.
“If I had my way, I would give them half of the money every single year to build themselves a department the way they really want. Because these criminals got way more money than they got.”
While others rallied outside the city council doors, asking to put that money elsewhere.
“Whether it's the BLM neighborhood, whether it’s the east side, so many programs, so many things, so many places, so many people are disinvested.”
A presentation asking the council to invest in the 20 recommendations brought to members tonight. With policies and procedures to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the community. The past 10 months Traco Matthews with CAPK has been conducting research, and speaking with residents along with bpd, looking for a long-term change.
Matthews says, “especially folks who felt I can't trust law enforcement. Understand why? And bring that honest and open vulnerable feedback to BPD, so that they can understand the current state, and hopefully make changes to restore that trust.”