How Police Is funded & How Florida’s Spending Compares

For all of the conversations related to the defund police movement, something which hasn’t been widely discussed is where the money comes from. Understanding where the funding originates also provides insight into the extent of the impact local governments have when weighing whether to make changes in policing within their communities. Based on the most recent Census Bureau data, the money for our police comes 14% from federal, 2% from the state, and 84% from local aka county/municipal.

This illustrates how critical local funding is to the actual law enforcement which takes place in our communities. Some have expressed a degree of apathy suggesting defunding at the local level wouldn’t really mean the end of traditional policing. The facts illustrate that’s certainly the case. This once again highlights the importance of engaging our local officials, vetting candidates for office, and voting in local elections. As I’ve often cited the elections which happen closest to you often have the biggest impact in your daily life. Imagine losing 84% of local law enforcement. That’s what defunding at the local level would bring. Fortunately, while isolated local politicians have attempted to defund the police, no South Florida law enforcement agencies have been defunded. But clearly it can’t be taken for granted going forward. Ask residents of St. Petersburg. 

As for how Florida’s law enforcement spending compares per capita law enforcement spending, the national average is $352 and Florida $406 per capita annually.

Florida’s spending is 15% above the national level. Clearly, we’ve been supportive of strong law enforcement throughout our state. Given that the only requirement of any government is the protection of its citizens, it’s encouraging Floridians seemingly have priorities in order. Still, the spending on law enforcement only amounts to about 4% of total spending. It’s ironic that 4% of the budget that provides for the security 96% of the rest of our society. I’d say that’s outstanding ROI, aside from it being the only mandate of our governments.

Photo by: Getty Images North America

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