You Can "Defund" Without Getting Rid of a Single Cop
I think there is way too much consternation on the pro-cop side of things which is concerned that reducing police staffing would necessarily also reduce public safety. I don't care about whether that's true, I'm just going to assume it is. The elephant in the room in this issue is just how breathtaking overtime compensation has come to be treated as standard. Let's consider Seattle since we have the numbers, where the police chief has a salary of $289,420. That doesn't strike me as immediately outrageous for an executive-level position, but there are also 20 police officers who out-earn her. The highest paid is a patrol officer with $414,543, and 364 SPD employees make more than $200,000.
There's also the case of Oakland where they consistently blow through double their overtime budget and end up spending $30 million a year. One cop somehow managed to collect $2.5 million in compensation over five years. The rules, undoubtedly negotiated with the union, are also set up so that cops who work overtime also get 1.5 hours of "comp time". So when they cash their comp time in order to get paid for not working, someone else has to fill that gap, and that leads to a cascade of overtime creating vacancies which create a greater amount of overtime than what was needed to fill the vacancies, which then creates a greater amount.... etc.
I've had to deal with mandated police security for an event I had set up. It was only an hour long, but union rules required that police get assigned to minimum five hour shift, and of course all of this was overtime. So we ended up having to pay a ton just to have three cops (also minimum required for outside events) stand around for an hour. Moonlighting for private security is a routine side-job for cops that is also well compensated. Businesses tend to prefer off-duty police officers to vanilla security guards due to the drastically reduced liability, and are willing to pay for that.
There are clear horse blinders at play when it comes to overcompensated union workers and runaway budgeting from the conservatives who would traditionally raise alarms about this. I think, plainly, there is a ton of fat to trim. The current budget, whatever that may be, for whatever department you're considering, should not be uncritically accepted as the sacrosanct baseline. So any discussion about whether we should increase or reduce police budget has to address whether the current spending is appropriate, otherwise it's totally unmoored from reality.