During the past two weeks, some people who have been protesting the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd at the hands of a police officer have called for cities to "defund" police departments.
Nationally, almost all political leaders -- including President Trump and Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden -- have rejected that idea.
And in Fontana, Mayor Acquanetta Warren declared during the City Council meeting on June 9 that the city will not consider redirecting money away from the Police Department.
"This Council is not even looking at disbanding or defunding or transferring any funds," she said.
She was responding to numerous residents who sent emails that were read during the public comments portion of the virtual meeting.
One of the emails, signed by David Aguilar and 25 other people, urged the city to make a "more overt and visible commitment to racial justice" by redirecting money away from the police budget.
"It is unacceptable to put most of the General Fund budget into the Fontana Police Department while so many people don't have affordable housing, aren't making a living wage, and struggle to access transit options," the email said.
During the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the Police Department was responsible for almost 60 percent of the city's General Fund expenditures, according to a city report. The city spent $60.9 million on police, and the second highest share of the $101 million budget was the Community Services Department ($13.2 million, or 13 percent of the total).
Warren said that most Fontana residents would not want the P.D. to be defunded.
"The No. 1 priority of this city is safety," she said. "Without safety, you don't have a community."
She noted that some people who commented on the issue wanted money that is now given to police to be spent instead on schools or other areas over which the city does not have any control.
"We do not control the budgets of the school districts -- the school boards do," she said.
The City Council will be discussing the budget for the upcoming 2020-2021 year during the June 23 meeting. The city will be forced to cut millions of dollars from the budget because of the coronavirus crisis, according to a previous announcement by City Manager Mark Denny.
At the June 9 meeting, Denny said that the Police Department will be facing a .14 percent decrease in funding as part of the necessary cutbacks to all of the city's departments.
"Public safety in this community is not going away," Warren said.
Still, she said she welcomed the input from concerned residents.
"Do we need to have discussions? Absolutely, and we're starting those discussions already," she said.