Reader's View: Invest police funds in ways that lift up all
The Duluth Police Department was approved for one quarter of our city's general fund for 2020, more than property, parks, libraries, and public works combined. A significant portion of our taxes goes to a department that does not take enough accountability from our community.
Despite significant concerns raised by the community, the department went ahead with the purchase of riot gear back in 2018, a year after Officer Adam Huot was accused of using unreasonable force against an Indigenous man. While Huot was fired for this, the police union forced Huot's reinstatement. These two events raise the uncomfortable question of who holds more power in keeping the department accountable.
This is dangerous, especially for our neighbors of color.
The Duluth Police Department does not collect perceived race or gender data for arrests, another avoidance of accountability and of transparency. You only need to listen to our Black, Indigenous, and other neighbors of color in our community to hear how they are policed differently than those of us who are White. Our city should be investing the funds it disproportionately gives to the police into programs that can tackle our homeless and housing crises, our health and education inequities. The money should go into programs and services that will lift all of us up.