By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
February 17, 2021
Municipalities or counties that decide to defund law enforcement agencies would find themselves similarly defunded by the state if lawmakers pass The Police Funding Protection Act, a bill filed Monday in the North Carolina Senate.
Co-sponsored by Republican senators Chuck Edwards (Henderson) and Danny Britt (Robeson), Senate Bill 100 would trigger cuts to state funding to any local government entity that decreases law enforcement funding by more than 1 percent of the amount budgeted in the same fiscal year for all its other departments. The bill would give city or county officials an opportunity to submit a written report explaining the cut, and state funding would be restored only if the House and Senate appropriations committees deemed the budget reduction reasonable and not detrimental to public safety.
“The Scriptures tell us that there will be a rebellion against law and order as we approach the end of time. There is currently a concerted effort by misguided officials and others who seek to downgrade the police and other law enforcement. I think this is the culmination of an educational system, the courts, and biased media that has wrongly redefined who and what is moral in recent decades,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “It’s appalling, even shocking; we now need a law to make those governing our cities and counties respect the law and support those charged to enforce it. This is what this legislation is about, and it’s beyond the pale it’s needed, but it is.”
During a press conference explaining the bill, Sen. Edwards cited a growing lack of support for police in Asheville, where he said the number of sworn police officers has dropped by more than 60, while violent crime has jumped 16 percent. He said recent cries to “defund the police” had spawned violent behavior that wasn’t limited to the streets of Minneapolis, New York and Philadelphia.
“We’re seeing radical extremists launch vicious attacks on enforcing our laws right here in North Carolina,” Edwards said.
Britt said the goal of the legislation is simply to ensure that cities and counties adequately fund their law enforcement agencies to keep citizens safe.
In addition to penalizing municipalities or counties that cut law enforcement funding, the bill would require the N.C. Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the N.C. Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission to submit recommendations by Oct. 1 for what equipment law enforcement agencies should have, including vehicles, firearms, body protection, ammunition and chemical munitions, how that equipment should be maintained and when it should be replaced.
The bill is not popular with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners or the North Carolina League of Municipalities, both of which say it undermines local control. But Randy Byrd, N.C. Division President of the Police Benevolent Association, told the News & Observer that it is needed.
“When you don’t support these officers and their agencies, it can lead to officers leaving in unprecedented numbers and violent crime increasing,” Byrd said.
The Rev. Creech agreed and said many law enforcement agencies already don’t have the money or the personnel they need to apprehend even a fraction of the criminals.
“And now, there are those in authority who want to limit their role and take away what resources they do have. This is terribly discouraging for those in law enforcement, people who put their lives on the line every day to serve and protect,” Creech said. “Some would say we should leave such matters to the locals. But unfortunately, in some cases, the local leadership is abandoning common sense and failing to sustain God’s standard for the law – to judge and suppress evil. According to the Bible, law enforcement’s job in society is ‘to wield the sword.’ This involves the necessity of force, even violent force, to subjugate those who pose a threat to our life, liberty, and property.”
On Tuesday, the bill was referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.