The ads are just too easy. At a time when violent crime is increasing for the first time in decades, the Republicans in the legislature cut funding for the state’s top law enforcement agency by $10 million. In other words, the GOP made us less safe. It’s a straightforward message supported by groups who try to keep criminals behind bars. And politically, it’s a damaging message.
Republicans who cut the Department of Justice’s budget must have been proud of themselves. They did it behind closed doors with no debate or input from the prosecutors or law enforcement agencies affected. They did because they could. Now that’s power. I’m sure they were patting themselves on the back.
Really, they did it as a slap at Attorney General Josh Stein, their former colleague. Stein is a Democrat and he beat another senate colleague, Buck Newton, who’s a Republican. As a state senator, Stein was a formidable opponent in arguing against GOP policies on the Senate floor. Cutting his budget was little more than partisan payback.
Unfortunately for vulnerable Republicans, the move was also politically risky. The Conference of District Attorneys condemned the move. So did the North Carolina Association of Police Chiefs and the North Carolina Sheriffs Association. In other words, law enforcement opposed the measure and believe it will make us less safe, while the politicians who supported the measure can’t even come up with a good reason for doing it.
As Jacksonville police chief Michael Yaniero said, “The proposed recurring $10M cut will dramatically impair DOJ’s ability to prosecute criminals, keep convicted criminals behind bars by defending appeals, preserve taxpayer money by defending the State against lawsuits, and protect the people of North Carolina.”
Like I said, the ads write themselves.
Image: It’s night. Sound of glass breaking and a man’s gloved hand reaches in, unlocking a window.
Narrator: Last year, violent crime increased for the first time in decades. So what did Senator (fill in name here) do? S/he voted to cut $10 million from the state’s top law enforcement agency. That’s right $10 million.
Shift to Sheriff or police chief.
Sheriff: I can tell you first hand, these cuts make it harder for us do our jobs.
Fade to District Attorney in front of courthouse.
DA: They cut money to fight appeals that keep criminals behind bars. That makes us less safe.
Shift to child asleep in bed being watched through a cracked door at night.
Narrator: Sen. So-and-so’s bad judgment left our families more vulnerable. Don’t vote for Sen. So-and-so.
Or something like that.