Opposition to Defunding CCPD
June 25, 2020
I am writing to express my disapproval of what appears to be a reflexive action to consider reducing the budget of our police dept based on the recent unrest surrounding the senseless killing of George Floyd and other Black males at the hands of law enforcement. As an African-American male who has lived in Culver City for over 30 years, I believe I bring another perspective compared to my progressive friends/acquaintances, most of which happen to be white, now (some) demanding the defunding of our PD.
Some of my African American brothers and sisters, including myself, have experienced overt or passive racism. Whether it rears its ugly head by overzealous policing or comments like, “them”, “those people” or “not in my neighborhood”. In other words, I’ve seen racism firsthand and front and center---and yes, in Culver City.
Since living in Culver City I have met/known 3-4 past CC police chiefs starting with Chief Cooke. One of the reasons we moved to Culver City is because it is a very safe city. I have to say in my personal interactions with Chief Bixby, including various frank one-on-one discussions relating to diversity in the PD and perceptions, my honest takeaway was and absolutely still is that Chief Bixby sincerely believes in diversity within his force, embraces community policing and full transparency. Comparing this to the 80s and early 90s, the CCPD’s reputation in dealing with people of color was less to be desired.
Over the years there have been cries that the CCPD gets too much funding or even in some corners, the CCPD in general is a racist organization that needs to be reined in. While there is always room for any organization to improve and the CCPD is not exempt, defunding is not the solution. I, like my friends and neighbors love our PD, its exceptional response times and the Chief and his command groups accessibility to residents.
Do we want to punish our PD for missteps of other departments? I say not! Before any serious discussions about the CCPD funding outside of the regular budget cycle, I think it would be prudent to first identify/quantify what problems are intrinsic right now with our PD (not in the past). If there are some, let’s work on them together. If there are none, then let’s not make up issues to fit solutions that are nationally inspired The national tragedy of Black males being more likely to be killed at the hand of the police officer has finally gained serious discussions/action by other municipalities—this is a good thing! However, I would implore this respected city council not to simply react to the recent atrocities at the hands of the Minneapolis/Atlanta PDs.
While any defunding decision is absolutely within your purview, please think about the ramifications (or 2nd/3rd order effects) on the public safety within our great city and not be driven by political expediency.
Marcus G. Tiggs