Providence to review police & public safety budget, operations

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza in a Zoom call with reporters on September 24, 2020 announced the city would seek an independent review of police and public safety costs and operations.

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Mayor Jorge Elorza said on Thursday that he is enlisting a financial advisory firm to conduct an independent review of the city’s police and public safety budget and operations as part of what he calls the city’s commitment to social justice and equity.

Elorza said the advisory firm PFM’s Center for Justice and Safety Finance would review the budget and operations with a goal of potential savings and efficiencies. He said the review could decide the future course of police hiring, and whether the department enlists as many as 50 officers for its next training academy, scheduled for the spring of 2021.

“There are folks that say ‘let’s just keep things the way they are right now’,” Elorza said on a Zoom call Thursday with reporters. “But the status quo is not an answer. We have the opportunity to stay on the front lines and be the most forward thinking police department in the country.”

Saying that he has never used the term “defund the police”, Elorza said, “its become a very charged term.”

Elorza said the review “is not costing the city a single cent,” adding the PFM firm would use philanthropic dollars, and would work with two local artists, Vatic Kuumba and Shey Rivera RĂ­os to facilitate community input to the review.