How to Take Back the Budget

How to Take Back the Budget is a new guide to help communities review and change the police budget in their city or county. This guide is for anyone in a community seeking to understand their city or county budget for policing and how it can be changed. The guide gives practical steps to quickly translate public budget jargon into real world information.

This guide was produced in collaboration with the Community Resource Hub. It is based on lessons learned from budget reviews of police budget in cities and counties big and small, nationwide, done by Civilytics in collaboration with local organizers. It is available for free, today.

Inside you’ll learn how to gather the budget documents in your city, set your budget review goals and expectations, gather comparisons to put the budget in context, analysis of the overall city budget, analysis of the details of the police budget, and how to propose alternatives and sustain wins.

Throughout you’ll find practical advice:

Guidance on what to look for and where to find it:

And yes, there will be math:

You’ll learn how to work through the budget to get the information you need and how to use that information at key points in the annual budget cycle:

Whether you are in a major city, a smaller town, or a rural county – this guide was written to help you take action over how public funds are raised and spent in your community. The guide pairs well with the #Defund Toolkit which helps communities identify concrete steps toward divestment from policing, and investment in community safety.