CHICAGO (CBS) — “Defund the police” – it has become a popular chant from protesters.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has come out against the notion of moving funds away from Chicago Police, but after commitments from several large cities over the weekend, CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey asked Monday what is behind the push in Chicago.

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Some of the few remaining barricades in the city still surround Chicago Public Safety Headquarters on Monday, as some city leaders have joined the call to “defund police.”

Hickey asked Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) what defunding the police meant to him.

“Well, over the last 10 years, we have seen a body of research coming forward that says the way to keep our community safe is not by investing more in policing, but by investing in after school programs, job programs, mental health services,” Ramirez-Rosa said.

Ramirez-Rosa is joining cry to rethink policing, one day after Minneapolis City Council announced support for disbanding the city’s police department.

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also vowed to divert funds from their police.

As of Monday afternoon, Mayor Lightfoot had not made any such a pledge.
Ald. Ramirez-Rosa thinks that’s a mistake.

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“Absolutely, it’s time for Mayor Lightfoot to join the national conversation and to stand with other big city mayors, and say it’s time for us to get city of about public safety – follow the science, follow the data,” he said.

In the 2020 budget, $1.78 billion went to the Chicago Police Department, about 15 percent of the city’s total budget of $11.65 billion.

More than 70 percent goes to the departments that handles patrols.

“If we’re forced to cut a budget in time, it may actually come to diminishing the basic services that we provide for our citizens,” said Chief Mitchell Davis, vice president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Davis, whose organization represents more than 300 police departments in the state, says that in order to appropriately respond to defunding questions, they’d need specifics.

But he acknowledges that there are many city services “dealing with mental health issues or homeless issues or substance abuse issues” that probably should be transferred outside local police departments.

And that’s something that the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is interested in discussing.

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Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) also came out Sunday in support of diverting funds away from the Police Department.

Megan Hickey