As conversations about defunding police departments continue nationwide, Cal State Fullerton has carried its own discussion regarding the future of the University Police at the Associated Students’ board of directors meeting on Tuesday.
Danny Kim, vice president of administration and finance — which University Police is part of — said that there have already been budget cuts to the campus police as a result of the pandemic’s financial impacts, calling their budgets “strained.”
“Our police went through a budget reduction like everybody else,” Kim said during the meeting. “Their resources are pretty constrained and there's actually been layoffs, and also they've reduced management there.”
The three captain positions have been reduced to one, as well as eliminating one to two other positions and shrinking the community service officer program, Kim said.
He brought up the difference between university and city police: though the city police department often involves pursuing crime, that university police largely focuses on keeping the campus safe. Most of the officers are Cal State University alumni or have been recruited from other campuses rather than from larger city police forces, he added.
The creation of the Chief’s Advisory Board, which recently had its first meeting, is being used for discussion and transparency regarding the University Police, Kim said.
“Our UPD has done a lot more than any of my other departments when it comes to (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) training, and making sure that there's a movement to make sure that the culture of the police department aligns with the campus approach and culture,” Kim said.
Marcus Reveles, the ASI president, said that the subject of defunding CSUF’s campus police has been in discussion.
“With this being a hot topic at the moment, it was an idea thrown around actually by the chief advisory board to conduct some meetings between students and the chief advisory board faculty, administration and campus police of what that feasibility might be,” Reveles said.
These discussions were primarily sparked in May when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes. Floyd’s death reignited calls to defund the police to the forefront of political conversation.
The concept of defunding the police typically involves cutting funds from police departments and reallocating them into community services, such as mental health resources. Support for the movement can range from minor cuts to law enforcement budgets to police abolition entirely.
The California Faculty Association was among those to criticize the police in June, and in a statement said they would strategize to “make our communities safer by demilitarizing and disarming local and university police.”
Students for Quality Education, a student organization throughout the CSUs, echoed the association’s calls to defund police and has advocated for campus police budget cuts to be reallocated into the community.
Raymund Aguirre, CSUF’s chief of police, released a statement following Floyd’s death condemning the actions of immoral law enforcement.
“There are some in professional policing that stand idly by and allow illegal and immoral behavior from colleagues to continue without repercussion,” Aguirre said. “I was disturbed, angered and devastated to the core by what I saw, and I know my department feels the same way.”