The following is a prepared testimony urging the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to oppose additional funding for 114 sworn law enforcement officers and jail construction projects. The testimony was delivered to the Board of Supervisors by ACLU-SDIC Immigrant Rights and Binational Affairs Advocate Esmeralda Flores on June 16, 2021.
Good evening, my name is Esmeralda Flores. I am a policy advocate with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.
The ACLU is a proud member of the Invest in San Diego Families coalition and the Coalition for Police Accountability & Transparency.
We are here to urge you to oppose additional funding for 114 sworn law enforcement officers and jail construction projects. And we urge you to fund an independent audit of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s financial expenditures to address potential overspending and add transparency to how county tax dollars are being spent.
The county spends $1 billion annually on the Sheriff’s Department - more than any of the other department within San Diego County – with no accounting of how the funds are used.
In stark contrast, decades of underinvestment have starved county services and programs that are essential to the well-being of the region. We saw important changes this budget cycle.
Instead of expanding the Sheriff’s Department budget, the county should expand and invest in initiatives that improve the health and well-being of communities throughout the county. These funds can support and sustain new programs that care for, rather than criminalize, marginalized county residents.
San Diego County can thrive if elected officials establish a budget that is transparent, divests from law enforcement, and builds and sustains systems of care for county residents; and aligns with the people’s shared values of racial justice and equity.
We urge the Board of Supervisors to oppose funding for additional sworn law enforcement staff and jail construction projects, and to fund an independent audit of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department financial expenditures.
Thank you for your time and consideration.