Q&A with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson on police funding

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says discussions about cutting the police budget may be inevitable.

The reason why is some council members would like to see that money reallocated and Dallas is facing a huge budget shortfall and just doesn't have enough money to go around.

The mayor spoke Tuesday with FOX4's Steven Dial.

DIAL: What's your take from some council members also saying that DPD needs to be defunded?

JOHNSON: If what people mean by defund is to have a more robust conversation at budget time about how much money we spend on public safety or how much we spend on the police department, that's a conversation I'm not only willing to have, but fully expected to have in any case.

DIAL: So it sounds like you are possibly open to the option of increasing funding or whatever the end result is, but maybe putting resources to social services... it’s just a matter of what the conversation is to get to that point.

JOHNSON: I think it’s more of a question of reallocation than spending more money, because I don't think more money is available. We were just talking a few weeks ago before the recent protests about how we don't have any money, that didn't change. We are still impacted by COVID-19 on our city budget. We still have the same hit to our sales tax, we still have the same issues with federal funding not being flexible enough to fix holes in our budget.

DIAL: At minimum you guys are looking at a loss of at least $70 million in sales tax revenue and could be higher. Talk about you are already dealing with coronavirus, now protests and calls to move money around.

JOHNSON: If we can alleviate some of that pressure on them by doing things outside of law enforcement -- things like alleviating blight, things like increasing our lighting in certain areas where a lot of crimes are occurring, things like partnering with our school district to make sure that we are teaching kids to solve their differences without resorting to violence and using violence interrupters in our community.