Spartanburg city council addresses police training after budget cuts

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA)- With recent events in the wake of George Floyd’s death, some citizens in Spartanburg have brought attention to the potential need for additional police training in community relations.

In the city of Spartanburg’s council meeting on Monday, Spartanburg financial and budget advisor Dennis Locke said it was a topic of conversation.

“There was just a general desire for there to be some type of change in regards to how police handle their interactions with citizens,” Locke said.

Spartanburg Police Department wants people to know that what happened in George Floyd’s case is not what they stand for.

“We do not like it when other police officers do things incorrectly,” Major Art Littlejohn said. “That’s why we pride ourselves in doing the right thing and treating citizens with respect.”

City council also discussed how funding hasn’t looked the same since the coronavirus pandemic.

Without revenue from hospitality taxes, the city’s overall budget was cut $1.7 million, leaving several departments with less money to spend this year.

One of those departments was the Spartanburg police.

If additional training were to take place, there were questions on where that money would come from.

However, Locke said it’s not the city that would make that decision.

“The Police Chief has the ability to make changes within the budget already allocated to him,” Locke said.

The Spartanburg Police Department says there’s not a lot of cost involved with training, and are willing to make adjustments to their training as needed.

“If there are additional things that come about, we’ll make sure our officers have those things in place,” Major Littlejohn said.

The final budget approval will take place in next’s meeting on June 22nd.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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