Worcester Police Department Budget Increased

WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — On Tuesday night, the Worcester City Council approved the City's $721.82 million budget, including more than a quarter-million dollar increase for the city's Police Department.

Residents called in to the Council's virtual meeting on Tuesday night ahead of the vote, with all but two of them urging members to reallocate the proposed $254,320 to public health programs and public schools instead of police.

Worcester Mayor Joe Petty apologized to several callers who did not get to speak during Tuesday night's virtual meeting before the budget vote.

Despite those comments from the public, the Council voted unanimously to approve the budget, including the increased funding for WPD.

According to Masslive, the City Council had also heard from residents expressing concern for the proposed increase to police funding during the past two virtual meetings, which happened amid nationwide protests calling for police reform in response to the in-custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“The city council ignored four hours of public comment and the voices of hundreds of Worcester residents who called and emailed expressing their opposition to this budget," said Defund WPD, an advocacy group working for the reallocation of police funds. "We are disappointed but not surprised."

On Wednesday afternoon, Defund WPD said it plans to demand the City Council "re-do" its vote on the police budget.

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