What Happened to Defunding? The Migration of Law Enforcement Funding and Building the Right Response, authored by Senior Project Associate Ashley Krider, provides an overview and analysis of the migration of law enforcement funding across a sample of U.S. jurisdictions from 2020 through December 2021.

Prompted by heightened cries for police reform across the United States since 2020, many jurisdictions quickly pledged to and made significant changes to local law enforcement budgets, including allocating or reallocating funds to community-based services. However, many cities that made reductions in local law enforcement spending in 2020 either funded department budgets at the same levels the following year or increased police spending. This publication goes beyond the headlines to explore what happened in jurisdictions around the country, highlighting nuanced priorities such as:

  • Staffing maintenance
  • Enhanced transparency and equipment
  • Reactions to state legislation
  • High-quality staff retention

It also discusses the modern dual role of law enforcement and the importance of building community capacity while decreasing the footprint of the criminal justice system to work toward true systemic change.

This publication is an expansion of the Examples of Law Enforcement Funding Reallocating/Unbundling Across the United States resource, first released in 2020.

This resource was first released in 2022.

(PDF, 26MB)