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How Much Does A Police Salary Add To Your Property Taxes? What About A Social Worker?

Smoky Mountain News investigated how hiring or firing of a street-level law enforcement officer would affect the wallet of average taxpayer in four Western counties.
Smoky Mountain News investigated how hiring or firing of a street-level law enforcement officer would affect the wallet of average taxpayer in four Western counties.

The price of local law enforcement is coming under increased scrutiny amidst nationwide calls to defund or abolish the police. Smoky Mountain News took a deep dive into the implications and possibilities for reallocating funding for law enforcement in four counties in Western North Carolina. 

Host Anita Rao talks with Smoky Mountain News' Cory Vaillancourt about the price of policing in rural NC.

But first, the newspaper had to determine what residents were already paying. Staff writer Cory Vaillancourt joins host Anita Rao to discuss the reporting and how the costs compare to social workers or other hypothetical replacements for armed officers. His piece is part of “Backing the Badge,” the newspaper’s ongoing series about law enforcement reform.

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.