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Crime & Safety

The Police Funding Protection Act: What it means for local law enforcement



MONROE, La. – “The people of Sterlington… they tend to really love their police” says Barry Bonner, Police Chief for the Sterlington Police Department.

Louisiana House Bill 38, also known as the Police Funding Protection Act, is currently moving through the 2020 Second Extraordinary Session. Written by Representative Lance Harris, the bill states that colleges and universities, municipalities and parishes have to let the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget know if funding for their police department is reduced by 10% or more. If this happens, said parties will lose capital outlay projects or sales tax deductions for the following fiscal year.

Defunding of the police is left up to local officials like mayors and councilmembers. But if the bill passes, some local municipalities and universities are not worried about losing anything, as they are not expecting to defund their departments.

The University of Louisiana Monroe’s response is as follows:

“ULM has no intention of reducing funding for our university police department. The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and entire campus community is paramount. If HB 38 or some version of it is passed, the university will comply with the requirements.”

Local police departments like Sterlington’s police department are actually in favor of it, saying the law is a safety buffer.

“This is kind of like a lifeline or a buffer to where it doesn’t happen, and the police departments are protected which, in essence, protects the civilians and community safety” Bonner said.

If anything, Sterlington is expecting the complete opposite of being defunded.

“I was advised by some councilmembers and the city government that no only are they not wanting to defund our department but they’re wanting to add to, and increase funding. In fact, we just recently added another officer about 3 months ago” Bonner said.

The bill so far has only been filed and has not been voted on yet. It has been sent over to the Louisiana House Committee on Appropriations for further review.