John McKay
John McKay

With all the buzz about Seattle and Minneapolis trying to defund Police departments via the city council, we went directly to the sources here in the Tri-Cities.

Have not heard back yet from Richland of Pasco, but Thursday we talked to officials with the City of Kennewick Public Relations/Government Affairs Department. They're the ones who handle media, information, news releases and are the ones citizens and media can bring questions or concerns to. If necessary, they will also refer input to the appropriate department.

There are "no formal actions being taken" to make any attempt to defund or reallocate funds away from the Police Department in Kennewick, nor are there any plans to do so.

We were told there have been a few emails and messages to the City from verified local residents about defunding or re allocating Police resources. However, they are a "small" number. "The bulk of the correspondence" received by the City demanding Police defunding is from "outside" the Tri-Cities. That's an actual quote, the italicized parts.

Officials told us they are receiving what they said were "form letters" from the West side and other locations around the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the letters contained phrases such as "I am a local resident..." but the post mark stamps say "Kirkland" or Seattle etc.

A significant number of these form letters still contain the phrase "(insert city here)", meaning the sender didn't even customize the letter to be sent to Kennewick. Officials say it's pretty obvious they're mass produced form letters. They're generic, non specific letters demanding funds be taken away from, or even completely removed from Police Departments.

These kind of campaigns are carried out by political or societal 'activists' with the hopes of pressuring city governments into adopting changes or procedures they want to see.

A few years ago, when syndicated talk show host Rush Limbaugh came under fire from some activist groups, we at Townsquare Media Tri-Cities received between 75-80 letters demanding we take him off the air on Newstalk870AM KFLD. The funny part was, they ALL said some variation of the following phrase: 'I demand you remove Rush Limbaugh immediate from Newstalk 590.'    Not only were the call letters wrong, but 90 percent of the post office meter stamps were from outside the Tri-Cities. Junk spam.

Officials say they are approaching the time when they will be putting together their next two-year budget that will go through 2022. At that time, per city statutes and normal operating procedures, they will examine every department from sewer to parks and rec, from Police to Fire, to maintenance, and utilize public input, revenues, and other factors as how to allocate funding.  There will be a Zoom meeting 6:30PM July 14 from City Hall (still closed due to COVID) where people can give input as to what they would like to see happen with the City Budget.

For more details about this meeting click on the button below.

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