May 26th, 2010 09:38 AM
Good news for BGs
Police officers feel state budget cut squeeze - May. 26, 2010
City budget cuts mean fewer cops on the beat
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Better hope your car isn't stolen or your home burglarized in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Tight fiscal times have forced the police department there to cut back on investigating certain crimes, including those involving property, unless there are hard leads. Detectives once dedicated to those incidents have been reassigned to patrol.
The Huntington Beach police agreed to slash $1 million from its $58 million budget earlier this year to help close a $4 million city budget gap. The department has been unable to replace the 22 officers who retired in recent years, leaving it with a force of 237.
"We don't have the personnel to follow up anymore," said Lt. Russell Reinhart, a department spokesman, adding the department shed $3 million from its budget last year and plans to trim another $1 million in the coming year. "There's nothing left to do but cut services."
Putting the squeeze on police departments shows just how desperate city officials have become as they struggle to balance their budgets amid declining tax revenue and state aid. Having already slashed spending on social services, education and recreation, many are forced now to turn to the previously untouchable area of public safety.
Some 22% of local elected officials said they are making cuts in public safety, according to a National League of Cities report released Monday. This is up from 14% reported in a similar survey in December.
"It's usually one of the last considerations," said Christiana McFarland, a League program director. "The repercussions are big in terms of safety and quality of life."
Cities across the nation are reducing services and imposing pay cuts, furloughs and even layoffs on their men and women in blue, said Ron York, a police union consultant for the past two decades.
"This is one cycle where the police are the target," York said.
Tulsa, Okla., and Cincinnati, Ohio, for example, recently laid off dozens of officers. In West Palm Beach, Fla., the police protested a new contract that cut back on pay and benefits.
Fewer cops in schools
A drop in state aid is forcing Egg Harbor Township, N.J., to lay off up to nine of its 86 officers.
As a result, two juvenile crime detectives and two officers assigned to schools had to be put back on patrol, said Detective Ray Theriault, president of the Mainland Policeman's Benevolent Association Local #77. The municipality also had to eliminate its traffic safety bureau, which investigated fatal accidents and coordinated DWI checkpoints, and reassigned two other detectives.
This comes after the officers agreed to give up $1.2 million in overtime, raises, clothing allowance and other benefits to help the municipality balance its budget, which was $33.4 million last year.
"Our detective bureau is down to levels from the 1980s," Theriault said. "It really hampers our ability to do criminal investigations."
Township administrator Peter Miller declined to comment.
Small cities aren't the only ones suffering. In Dallas, city officials are turning to the police department to help close a $130 million budget gap. Among the suggestions: officers taking furlough days, as other city workers do; cutting overtime by a quarter; and trimming pay by 2%.
Though Dallas has been slashing services in recent years, the police department has been largely spared. But now, city officials have few other places to turn.
"In recent memory, public safety hasn't received the level of budget cuts that are being considered," said Frank Librio, the city's public information director.
Dallas officers, however, aren't keen on the idea of taking unpaid days off. Each furlough day would mean 80 fewer officers on the street, said Senior Cpl. Michael Walton, head of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. That could hurt crime prevention efforts.
"That one officer could be the one who passes a robbery in progress," Walton said. To top of page
May 26th, 2010 10:23 AM
Cuts in the police forces all over, and yet the violent crime rate continues to go down. Intended victim might be armed = bad juju for the BG!
Anti-gunners seem to believe that if we just pass enough laws, we can have utopia. Unfortunately, utopia is NOT one of our choices.
May 26th, 2010 10:46 AM
But yet they still have a very active speed enforcment force in place.
Speeders are revenue gnerators and crime investigation is non profit endeavor.
Maybe if they made the motorcycle cops work in crime patrol instead of hiding behind bushes. But wait, that would not generate revenuse would it. But, it might make the City safer. And if a City is safer they will need fewer Officers on staff.
Perhaps, if they had more handgun training for it's citizens and make sure they are not jeapordized for preventing crime they could spend more time on their Motorcycles writing tickets. Make it open season on Criminals.
A Win Win if you ask me.
May 26th, 2010 11:33 AM
SAD FACT The "THIN BLUE LINE" is getting THINNER !
In my area, (SEATTLE area ), the "big" Depts ( King Co. & Seattle PD.) Have "cut back & more are being "contemplated".
ALL the MORE REASON to be ARMED.
May 26th, 2010 12:31 PM
Now would be a good time for California to re-think their gun policies!
You can educate ignorance, you can't fix stupid
Retired DE Trooper, SA XD40 SC, S&W 2" Airweight
dukalmighty & Pure Kustom Black Ops Pro "Trooper" Holsters, DE CCDW and LEOSA Permits, Vietnam Vet 68-69 Pleiku
May 26th, 2010 12:45 PM
Several Cincinnati cops that where laid off where hired by Green township PD and Hamilton county sheriff. I don't know for a fact but I think even Cheviot and Colerain township hired on some too. The city might have less of a force but the county and surrounding suburbs have sure beefed up theirs.
Originally Posted by ctsketch
There is something about firing 4,200 thirty millimeter rounds/min that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
May 26th, 2010 03:25 PM
Very shortly after the terrorist bombing in Times Square, Obama was in NYC, just a week or two after.
All - including its citizens - were hoping Obama would rescind a decision to cut back Federal Aid for New York City for anti-terrorist police purposes.
Their budget cuts for anti-terrorism police efforts will occur as scheduled.
Guess anti-terrorism in a town like New York is considered unnecessary. It's take away from the money used to bail out Wall Street executives, after all. Can't let these cops and firemen get uppity and forget their place.
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