A State College community group that’s been pushing for police reform is encouraging members of the public to voice their opinions at a public hearing the borough is holding Monday night for its 2021 proposed budget, including police funding.
“The police officers are supposed to serve and protect the community, and as of now, we don’t feel as if they’re doing that," said Tierra Williams, co-chair of the 3/20 Coalition, a local group pushing for police reforms.
The borough is looking at creating a civilian response team that would respond to certain calls, like those involving mental health. To do that, the proposed budget includes trimming the number of police officer positions from 62 to 58. While the department is currently budgeted for 62 officers, it only has 54 on staff.
The 3/20 Coalition does not want those new positions to fall under police control. Instead, they’re calling for funding cuts to the police department.
The borough’s proposed police budget grows slightly. And, at a borough council work session, several council members asked why having a civilian response team and other police reforms should include having fewer police officers.
Monday's borough council meeting begins at 7 p.m. It will include a public hearing on the proposed budget.