Defund the Police Dem Begs for Help After Crime Explodes
San Francisco City Supervisor Hillary Ronen is facing criticism from both sides of the aisle after begging for more police officers in her district, despite having called for the police to be defunded just a few years ago.
Ronen, who represents District 9 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform and has long been a proponent of reducing police funding. In 2017, she was one of the first elected officials in California to call for defunding the police.
However, in recent months, Ronen has reversed her stance on policing and is now calling for more officers in her district. This comes as crime rates have skyrocketed in San Francisco over the past year. According to data from the San Francisco Police Department, violent crime rose by 24 percent between 2019 and 2020. Property crime also increased significantly during this period.
At a recent budget meeting, Ronen asked for seven new staff positions to help address the rising crime rate in her district. She argued that these additional resources would help reduce violence and make her constituents feel safer.
The Blaze reported,
Amid the devastating BLM riots, Democrat Mayor London Breed proposed a $35 million cut from the San Francisco Police Department’s budget over two years. This 2.6% reduction was not enough for Ronen, reported Mission Local.
Ronen called the budget reduction “a slap in the face,” saying, “We can’t just give lip service to this time and this movement.”
She also suggested it would be prudent to get “police out of the business of responding to homeless people for being homeless,” to plan on reducing the presence of law enforcement at public schools, and to reconsider having mounted police officers at all.
Ronen underscored that defunding the police was ultimately about repurposing a “system that is rotten to its core.”
In August 2020, Ronen clarified her position, tweeting, “I want to make it clear that I believe strongly in defunding the police and reducing the number of officers on our force. For decades we’ve had an imbalance in our city’s budget, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to SFPD to have them do work they are not qualified to do.”
I want to make it clear that I believe strongly in defunding the police and reducing the number of officers on our force. For decades we’ve had an imbalance in our city’s budget, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to SFPD to have them do work they are not qualified to do.
— Hillary Ronen (@HillaryRonen) August 17, 2020
The move has sparked outrage among conservatives who view it as a betrayal of Ronen’s previous position on policing. They argue that if she truly believed that defunding the police was necessary, then she should not be asking for more officers now that crime is increasing in her district.
Ronen has defended her decision by arguing that it is necessary to increase police presence in order to protect public safety. She also noted that while she still believes there are areas where police funding can be reduced or redirected towards other services such as mental health care or housing assistance, there are some situations where additional law enforcement resources are needed.
Ronen’s reversal on this issue has caused controversy among both liberals and conservatives alike and shows no signs of abating anytime soon.