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Bell County cities vote to increase police departments' budgets amid national calls to defund police

Posted at 7:46 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 12:18:58-05

Here in Central Texas, local governments are already working on next year’s budgets. While some places are cutting funds to police departments, the opposite is happening in Bell County.

The Temple Police Department has been faced with scrutiny following the death of Michael Dean last year. While there are calls to defund the department, the Temple city government is adding funds to the agency.

“We’ve always been very deliberate and very careful to fund the police department to the point that it’s serving the citizens of temple properly,” said Mayor Tim Davis.

Half a million dollars has been added to next year’s police department budget. Some of that money will be used to hire four additional police officers.

“Every person deserves and expects to be kept safe,” Davis said. “That's something that we as a city council can have an impact on.”

Some officers believe moving funds elsewhere isn’t the answer.

“Simply moving an entity from the department with an expectation that all of a sudden that it's going to get better or solve a program is somewhat naive a lot of times," Jeff Donohue, assistant police chief for the Killeen Police Department, said.

In Killeen, police funding is expected to increase by $4 million, something some officers appreciate.

“That just shows you the support from the mayor, city manager, city council and the local people that they are investing in public safety instead of just talking about public safety,” Donohue said. “That to me... actions speak louder than words”

The budget decisions city councils make will be put into effect on October 1 and will run until September 20, 2021.