I cannot describe my disappointment with the Eugene City Council budget. As expected the increase in police spending has not worked, still they need more patrol cars, officers and beds.
Recently, when my family members were in crisis and could seriously be hurt, they did not call the police because they fear police violence and know the police offer no actual solutions. They stay in abusive situations because they know that the police can only hurt and not help them. Many of the calls to EPD revolve around violence like this, but what resources beyond the jail do we have as a community?
We don’t have beds at the shelter. You’re not going to find a therapist without a long wait or find an affordable apartment so you can leave and live safely away from the violence. If you’re having a mental breakdown, there are no inpatient beds or services to help you.
The only answer given is further policing. Never have I heard the City Council discuss trauma-informed practices around building community safety. We have an amazing program in CAHOOTS, but the city refuses to disentangle the funding from EPD, confusing the priorities, and won’t offer a direct line to this service in a meaningful way.
There are mass amounts of research and information around the impacts of policing in our communities from the people most affected by it. There are other paths to safety that are not just increasing the police budget year after year after year.
There is a free course about the prison industry at WorthRises.org. You have an obligation to fully educate yourself for the sake of our community and future. I don’t want to live in a police state, and I see nothing in the city’s actions or planning that is putting any brakes on the saturation of policing in our community. We can do better and we must. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.