Why Defund OPD?
Built on a foundation of racism & classism, policing continues to present itself as an inadequate answer to the question of public safety. The growing amount of money we spend on policing bears little if any return for the safety of our community, and it’s time we put the money to better use.

Policing is Racist

With their origins as slave patrols and paid strikebreakers, the very nature of policing is rooted in upholding racial & class hierarchies. In 2020, they have killed 897 people, and while Black people make up 13% of the population, they have been 28% of those killed by police. Despite many cycles of reforms, the problem persists to this day, with story after story of police officers caught belonging to some of America’s most egregious white supremacy groups.

OPD’s Budget

Since 2011, the Olympia PD’s budget has increased by 67%, although calls for their service have only increased by 7%. Collecting $1.1 million in overtime in 2019 alone, more is spent on Olympia’s police department than Public Works, Parks, Arts, Recreation, Community planning & development, and general government combined.

Police Don’t Keep Us Safe

In Thurston County, there are more calls for mental health and welfare checks than 29 other call types combined. Why do we send armed police officers to deal with these situations? Even when it comes to violent crime, the Olympia Police department solved only 45% of it’s cases in 2019 - and that number is on the decline.

The Blueprint to Defunding

Cut OPD Budget

We’ve identified line-items that should be immediately removed from OPDs budget, and where applicable, offered solutions in their place.

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Reinvest in Community

Using money saved from OPD budget cuts, reinvest in alternatives to public safety. This process will be led by those most affected by inadequate policing: our community members of color.

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Increase Accountability

At the same time, we need immediate stop-gap measures to increase police accountability, such as a civilian accountability review board, mandating that officers live in the areas they police, and many others.

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Read Our Blueprint in Full

What does defunding the police mean?

Defunding the police means moving money away from the police budget into the services that actually contribute to long term health, safety, security of our community. Things like job training programs, public & affordable housing, youth education programs, mental health counselling, and more. This is not an immediate process - it builds up social services and alternative forms of safety as the police budget shrinks. What would you do with that money to help the people in your neighborhood thrive?

How will we stay safe without a police department?

Crime isn’t random. Most of the time, it happens when someone has been unable to meet their basic needs through other means. ​ By responding to its root causes, we can work to prevent crime instead of merely responding to it, which will diminish our reliance on constant policing. As we defund, we will explore and build alternative answers to public safety. Let’s work on giving everyone a quality education, meaningful work, economic stability, social connection, and mental healthcare. We think that investing in our community, would reduce the vast majority of crime. What do you think?

What about reforms? Isn’t it just a few bad apples?

Reforms have been touted as a solution by many police-affiliated politicians since this country began, yet these reforms rarely produce any notable positive outcome. Often, they make things worse. For example, the rise of police body cameras hasn’t led to more police accountability, rather it has led to a rise in cameras being “turned off” or “not functioning” during critical moments. While some apples are certainly worse than others, the very instituion of the police, with its deep history in slavery & oppression, makes every officer complicit in a larger system of violence. What would it look like to rethink the role of public safety entirely?
Help Us Defund OPD!

If you’ve had an encounter with OPD or with local militia groups that made you feel unsafe and you feel comfortable sharing it, please email us at info@olydsa.org. We are collecting stories to demonstrate to local policy makers the need for dramatic change in public safety, and will check with you individually before sharing your story.
More Ways to Get Involved:
  • Share this page on social media
  • Share your support for defunding and reinvesting in our community with the City Council.
  • Listen to your friends, family and neighbors’ thoughts on defunding the police and offer this information to share your support.
  • Contact info@olydsa.org to work with a coalition of individuals and community and activist groups to defund OPD.