Skip to content

Invest in Community Care, Not Cops: Kent County Sheriff’s Department wants nearly $3 Million CARES Act funding for themselves

November 21, 2022

On Wednesday, MLive posted an article about the reduced list of proposals in Kent County that would utilize the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that the Kent County Commission will decide upon on December 1st.

In September, GRIID reported on the then 319 proposals that had been submitted to the County, proposals that were hoping to use the $127.6 million in COVID-19 stimulus funding that Kent County received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

One of the proposals that is still in the running comes from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. Their proposal is asking for $2,837,500 is for a School Safety Radio Network. You can read the proposal in the MLive article, but essentially the Kent County Sheriff’s Department wants to use nearly $3 Million to create a new communication system for schools in the event of future school shootings in Kent County.

There are several reasons why this proposal should be outright rejected. First, the proposal from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department continues a trend that began in 2020, where local law enforcement agencies have continued to re-direct CARES Act funding away from the public and those who most need it. A May 2021 report from the group Interrupting Criminalization entitled, Divesting from Pandemic Policing and Investing in Just Recovery, provides us with this important analysis:

Second, decades of police militarization since Columbine have not only failed to stop mass shootings, we frequently see police put their own safety above that of the people they are supposed to protect. This was clearly demonstrated in the school shooting earlier this year in Uvalde, Texas. That police fail to keep us safe is nothing new, even in situations of mass shootings. During the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the school cop Scot Peterson cowered right outside the building while seventeen people were killed. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association from just last year found that “armed guards were not associated with significant reduction in rates of injuries” and that “the rate of deaths was 2.83 times greater in schools with an armed guard present.” I am not aware of a case where the police have actually stopped a school shooting from happening in the act.

Those of us who have been calling for the defunding of police departments — indeed for police abolition in favor of real, collective public safety practices — have been treated by Democratic and Republican leaders and commentators alike as fanatical. In the face of decades, if not centuries of evidence exposing what the work of policing actually entails — and does not entail — the true ideologues are those committed to policing as a social solution.

Now, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department proposal for a new communication system in every school in Kent County is designed to, “provide area law enforcement with critical, factual, and real-time information they need to respond and end school-related incidents..” As we have been stating throughout this article, there is no evidence that sending cops to schools that are facing an active shooter does little to actually prevent students and teachers from being shot. In fact, funding the proposal from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department further legitimizes that institution and perpetuates the myth that cops actually protect the public.

If you don’t want to see nearly $3 Million of the CARES Act funding go to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, then you should tell them NO. Go to this link, which provides contact information for all 21 Kent County Commissioners. Tell them NO funding for cops, only community care!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: