While defunding police has been advocated by speakers at rallies and public meetings in Evanston in recent days, the concept does not appear to have yet gained traction among elected officials.

In Seattle this week, where police spending accounts for a quarter of the city’s general fund budget, City Council members began what they described as an “inquest” into the police budget with some calling for reallocating funds to other programs. Seattle spends 82 percent of its police budget on personnel costs and overtime.

In Minneapolis, nine of 12 council members have said they want to dismantle the police department, which apparently would mean shifting a substantial portion of the department’s funding to education and social services programs in an effort to reduce socioeconomic disparities. But no specific details have yet emerged.

In Evanston the police department accounts for about 35% of general fund spending.

But it amounts to only 18% of the city’s total annual budget.

Note: The “Management” category in the pie charts above includes the city manager’s office, the City Council, the City Clerk’s office and the Law Department.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Police Pension Fund

    Do contributions to the Police Pension ($13 m in 2020) fund come out of the General Fund or the capital budget? The budget for police from the general fund is $56 m in 2020. It seems very unlikely that there could be long term cuts to pension fund contributions, and if the drop in interest rates is sustained, they will probably have to go up.

    1. Hi Skeptic,

      Hi Skeptic,

      Police pension fund contributions are included in the police segment of the total, or “all funds” city budget. (The “capital budget” is another slice of the total budget, but does not include pension costs.)

      Pension costs are not part of the general fund. The police share of general fund spending is $41.1 million, not $56 million. Adding the police pension fund amount raises the total current-year cost of police services to $56 million.

      Reducing police staffing levels would ultimately reduce pension costs, but only gradually.

      — Bill

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