No defunding planned for Kalamazoo police

The city commission is set to vote on a budget for the year that fully funds public safety despite calls for change.

“Defund the police” was one of the rallying cries of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer that aimed to hold police departments accountable for disproportionate violence against people of color.

The phrase means different things to different people, but none of them are likely to change the way the City of Kalamazoo operates in the near future.

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What’s Happening: Kalamazoo City Commissioners are set to vote on the city’s budget for the year during a meeting Tuesday night. That budget includes a small decrease in funding for the city’s Department of Public Safety (KDPS), but one that will have little effect on the department’s operations.

The proposed $214 million budget will include $32 million for KDPS.

What It Means: KDPS has been under intense scrutiny following its mishandling of protests last summer. Many residents have called for money to be allocated away from the department and toward other public services.

“It’s a department that is so deeply flawed the city had to fire the chief and then hide that it was fired and make excuses,” said resident David Benac during a recent hearing.

City officials fired Chief Karianne Thomas and then lied to the public about her reasons for leaving.

You can read more on Michigan Radio.

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