SEASIDE, Calif. (KION) The Seaside Police Officer's Association defends the Police Department's budget in a response to calls for defunding from a Seaside city council member.
Seaside city council member, Jon Wizard, said the Seaside Police Department should be defunded at a recent Black Lives Matter march.
In cell phone video posted on Twitter, Wizard said, “In Seaside we have a $32 million budget. We spend $14 million on our cops. That's 42% of our budget. I need that money to go to childcare, to food, to rent programs." The crowd responded in cheers and chants.
According to the city documents, Seaside's 2019-2020 budget was estimated at $35 million. The city indicated police expense make up 38% of that budget. In 2019, police received approximately 40,000 calls for service.
KION previously reported that the POA offered a 10% pay-cut as the City of Seaside struggled with potential layoffs as a result of the pandemic.
The Seaside Police Officer’s Association responded to Jon Wizard’s calls to “defund and demilitarize” in a lengthy social media post.
On their Facebook page the Seaside Police Officer’s Association wrote:
“During these trying and divisive times, we are disappointed to hear Councilman Jon Wizard’s statements to the demonstrators at the Black Lives Matter rally in Monterey on May 30th 2020. To say the police should be defunded, is the type of rhetoric a member of city council should not be espousing. Especially when he ran his campaign under the guise of being a former police officer."
Hours after the department responded, Wizard took to twitter to say:
“When elected officials dare to invest in their community instead of investing in police, they get accused of sedition. Truly outrageous and dangerous speech coming from those meant to protect and serve us. We can disagree without dog whistles.”