Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist aka "Chain gang Charlie" continues to work hard in displaying his progressive credentials in the weeks leading up to the 2022 midterm elections. In August, the Republican Party of Florida posted a video from a May 2022 interview conducted by the podcast "Your Brother John," where Crist says he is in favor of St. Pete police chief Anthony Holloway's initiative to reallocate funds for policing to creating a unit of social workers to respond to nonviolent calls.
"I support exactly what the chief is doing," Crist says. "I respect his judgment and I think he's right, exactly what he's doing. And it isn't defunding, you're correct about that, it's reallocation and making a balance to the approach."
Crist support of police funding being reallocated is perceived as him supporting the unpopular "defund the police" effort being championed by Progressives around the country.
Politifact was quick to reinforce this notion, saying that Crist does clarify himself by adding that "it isn't defunding, you're correct about that. It's reallocation and making a balance to the approach." However, the money allocated for police budget is done so by local and state governments. As such, money allocated towards creating a unit to handle nonviolent issues is money denied to the unit that handles violent crime.
Moreover, while a police unit designed to handle nonviolent crime is, in theory, a fine idea, police situations can (and often will) escalate into violence, and those officers trained for nonviolent confrontations will have no means to protect themselves.
This is why Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, a registered Democrat, has endorsed Gov. DeSantis' reelection.
"The Governor’s Democratic opponent has already started talking about reallocation, which to me, by the way, is a code word for taking resources away from the men and women that protect us. It’s a code word for defunding the police," said Kerner.
November will tell us if the rest of Florida believes the same.