How Florida used COVID relief to fund law enforcement

Florida is among the many states that used parts of American Rescue Plan Act funding geared toward COVID restoration to shore up police and different legislation enforcement.

Driving the information: Via ARPA, President Biden gave cities and counties $350 billion to get better from COVID-19 — the biggest infusion of federal funding in native governments in virtually 40 years.

The massive image: Some $52.6 billion of that $350 billion was categorized as “Income Substitute,” a imprecise catch-all class. And greater than half of that cash went to initiatives that talked about police, legislation enforcement, courts, jails and prisons, The Marshall Undertaking discovered.

Lower than 10% went to “public well being.”
Biden has pointed to ARPA to point out that Democrats aren’t out to defund the police, in line with a brand new Marshall Undertaking report.
Zoom in: Florida received $8.8 billion in ARPA funding. Via a partnership with The Marshall Undertaking, Axios discovered that:

The state budgeted $20 million of the cash to construct a brand new Florida Nationwide Guard armory in Zephyrhills, “to deal with capability impacts associated to COVID.” The state claimed the brand new house will enable the guard to recruit and prepare 450 new service members. Solely $1.8 million has been spent on the challenge up to now.
Coral Springs spent $43,000 of its cash on ballistic rifle plates, a sort of physique armor, for fireplace and EMS staff.
Tampa — which had the largest police division funds improve amongst America’s largest cities final 12 months — spent $15.6 million of its ARPA cash on police wage and advantages, autos, aviation upkeep and physique cameras for police.
Between the strains: The U.S. Treasury dominated that funds allotted to a metropolis because of a discount in income brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic can be utilized to pay for police tools, together with autos, aviation and physique cameras.What they’re saying: Coral Springs began buying ballistic rifle plates for first responders after the 2018 mass taking pictures at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College in Parkland, metropolis spokesperson Lindsey Steinberg advised Axios.

“In 2022, the division utilized lower than 0.3% of the town’s whole allotted ARPA funds to improve the vests’ ballistic plates to guard towards sure rifle ammunition,” Steinberg stated. “The funding can be to make sure that we have now a alternative plan that follows the producer’s expiration dates.”
Tampa Police Division spokesperson Crystal Clark advised Axios that ARPA funds helped TPD keep away from vital funds cuts by funding “vital division wants.”
The underside line: There are few limitations on how native governments can allocate ARPA funds, so every municipality will get to resolve primarily based on its priorities and values.

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