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For at least forty years, police budgets have been going up. From GovTech:
All sorts of needed city services are starved for funding, but we keep spending a huge and ever-growing amount on policing. Luke Darby in GQ writes:
There’s little evidence, if any, to suggest that more police actually correlates to fewer crimes—and more aggressive policing, like so-called “broken windows” policing and New York’s stop-and-frisk policy, seems to only increase arrests for extremely minor offenses while stoking violent interactions between police and minorities. Yet the hard numbers show that public officials have favored police department funding over public health and other concerns.
Los Angeles is a prime example: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2020-2021 city budget gives police $3.14 billion out of the city’s $10.5 billion. That’s the single biggest line item, dwarfing, say, emergency management ($6 million) and economic development ($30 million). Garcetti is also planning to raise the LAPD’s budget by 7 percent—to support bonuses for officers who have a college degree—while he’s also trying to institute pay cuts for more than 24,000 civilian city workers (to cope with budgetary fallout from the coronavirus outbreak).
In New York, which has the largest budget for any police department in the country, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called to reduce the NYPD’s budget by $23.8 million—a step in the right direction, but only 0.4 percent of the department’s $5 billion budget. As Brooklyn College sociology professor Alex Vitale writes in the New York Post, “New York City spends more on policing than it does on the Departments of Health, Homeless Services, Housing Preservation and Development, and Youth and Community Development combined.”
More money for cops is less money for everything else – including some measures that might improve society and make police less necessary.
This was fun to draw. I de-emphasized drawing backgrounds so I could devote more time to drawing people – there are about 20 figures in this cartoon, which is a lot for me.
I had a particularly nice time drawing panel four. My favorite is the cop who is doing John Travolta’s famous finger-up pose from Saturday Night Fever.
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
(New drinking game! Every time I make a typo, take a drink. Don’t play this game if you have to drive later.)
This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene, and has a different color palette.
This panel, drawing with an orange-ish palette, shows a woman talking on the phone, looking a little panicked. Beside her, a wide-eyed child watches, looking very worried. Above them both is a large caption, in big green letters.
CAPTION: HOW CITY BUDGETS WORK
WOMAN: A six year waiting list? But we’re homeless now!
This panel is colored in shades of purple.
A middle-aged woman wearing glasses and a striped dress is talking to a middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie. She looks wide-eyed and worried; he looks angry, glaring into space as he talks.
Behind them we can see a big window; various shapes (a banana, an apple, flowers, a star) have been cut out of paper and taped to the window. In front of them, we see mostly the heads and faces of a crowd of children, variously talking, smiling, making a peace sign, and dozing off (with a bit of drool).
WOMAN: But we can’t fit another 30 chairs into this classroom!
MAN: Chairs? City Hall says kids can stand.
This panel is colored in very dreary shades of green.
We are looking through a doorway at a man with slightly shaggy hair, who sits unhappily at a cheap rectangular table in an otherwise empty room. Outside the room, leaning back as if he’s just calling something into the room while rushing past, a man wearing glasses and a jacket and tie, talks to the shaggy-haired man.
RUSHING MAN: Hi! I’m your public defender. Unfortunately, I’ve been assigned so many defendants that introducing myself is all the time I have for your case this month.
RUSHING MAN: See you at your trial!
This panel is colored in shades of blue, except for the cash, which is colored in green.
A group of cops is dancing merrily while grinning. One cop waggles his midsection; one imitates John Travolta’s disco pose from “Saturday Night Fever”; a couple dances in a pair, arms on each other’s shoulders; a few others are kicking and throwing their arms up into the hair. It’s a celebration. Green cash is filling the air, raining down on them.
COPS (said by several in unison): MONEY DANCE!