U.S. Mayors’ Group Opposes Police Defunding Efforts While Urging Reform

An organization representing the mayors of 1,400 U.S. cities is promoting a broad set of actions its members can take to implement police reform, though the group said it opposes efforts to cut funding for law enforcement.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report Thursday with a set of recommendations, such as clear use-of-force policies that limit officers to the minimum amount necessary to respond, and better data collection on police stops, searches and arrests. The group also recommends bias training, building better relationships in the community, minimizing aggressive responses to protests and mass gatherings and implementing public complaint and accountability processes, among others.

Instead of defunding police, the group urged cities to fund both traditional policing and social services that can respond in place of police.

“We oppose defunding the police,” Cincinnati, Ohio, Mayor John Cranley said on a press call. “But we also oppose the defunding of social services and mental health.”

Calls to curtail spending on police have risen up in city halls across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests against racism and police brutality. Cities including New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have already taken steps to reduce funding for their departments.

Others have resisted those calls. In Cincinnati, police spending has remained roughly flat despite calls from the community to reduce and reallocate funding. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is part of the working group that created the recommendations, has also resisted calls to cut funding for the city’s police department, though she has announced an initiative to update its use-of-force policies.

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