STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY, PA (WTAJ) — The State College Borough Council received plenty of backlash from community members at tonight’s budget meeting. Attendees joined in on the zoom call advising them to “Defund the Police.”
The Borough Council was expected to vote on Monday about where they’re going to allocate nearly $2 million dollars from the police department. They can choose to either expand their police force or put it towards social services like mental health emergencies.
The proposed 2021 budget for the State College Police Department consists of about $11 million dollars. The amount in total will allow 8 vacant positions at the police department to be filled. If the borough takes $2 million dollars from that budget and only fills 4 of those positions, it will allow the remaining funds to be used to create a civilian response team or create more resources for social services.
Area resident, Emma Collins says “if you defund them which is a very bad choice, they cannot effectively serve the public.”
However, State College resident Maggie Hernandez says “there are so many needs in this town that need to be met and we do not need to be funding the State College Police Department with $11 million dollars.”
Among those on the call were members of the 3/20 Coalition, advocating for justice following the death of Osaze Osagie. The 29-year-old African American male had a mental health disorder and was killed by State College police in 2019.
Secretary of the 3/20 Coalition, Melanie Morrison says “if you put some more money towards homelessness in-state college and food crises and rent crises, you won’t need the punitive things that the police would be asked to do.”
Even board members found themselves debating over which decision is best for their community. We’ll bring you more details when the council makes a decision.