HAC Statements & Demands
Join us in holding our City and County governments accountable.
We'll publish our statements and demands here as we call into public meetings about issues related to policing, incarceration, and racial injustice.
March 30, 2021. City Council Meeting Public Comment. Demanding City Council defund the police and block police raises for FY 2021-2022.
I’m speaking on behalf of the Houston Abolitionist Collective [and/or partner organization]. I’m speaking to urge the council to divert funding away from the Houston Police Department towards social services encouraged and supported by the community. We are also demanding a more participatory process when it comes to the Houston city budget for the upcoming fiscal year, especially the Houston Police Department.
As a constituent of Houston, I’d like for members of the council to respond to the automatic budget increase of at least $13 million for police officers on July 1st. Under article 3 of the police union contract, if not renegotiated, there is an automatic wage increase for police officers of 2% which would increase the police budget by $13 million which could be spent on services our city desperately needs. This contract that allows this was set to expire last year and does not represent the way constituents of Houston would like for money to be allocated. Instead, alternatives for the money granted to the HPD can be allocated to alternative programs: for example, the $28M budgeted for HPD’s training incentives could provide rapid rehousing for 1,700 people during our eviction crisis; HPD’s equipment allowance could fund diversion and mental health services for 2,000 people; the police union contract's clothing allowance could nearly cover the grant funding cuts the city took from artists due to Hotel Occupancy Tax loss.
Houston also lacks proper mental health services, and police officers are not mental health professionals. The money going to HPD with the upcoming budget increase could instead go to programs that focus on these specific services that do not involve policing. Court mandated diversion programs are still forcing folks to go through a carceral process within the Harris County Jail, and the police budget could be reallocated to independent programs that focus on restorative justice. In order to make this process more transparent, we ask for open negotiations for the police officers union.
Would you be willing to support an open survey regarding this year’s budget, and would you reconsider the $13 million automatic increase for this upcoming year? Additionally, the police budget is drastically higher than every other department, and we ask that you make the budget process more participatory to reflect the wants and needs of those in your districts.