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Police departments facing big cuts during steep recession

Friday, Aug 7, 2020

* Sinclair

It might not be happening the way activists imagined, but calls to defund the police are becoming a reality as law enforcement agencies face the dual pressures of coronavirus-related budget shortfalls and nationwide protests.

According to a new survey by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), police agencies across the country could be facing some of the deepest cuts in a decade, even worse than during the Great Recession.

Roughly half of the 258 police agencies surveyed reported their funding has been cut or they expect it to be cut this year. Most said they are seeing reductions of 5-10% of their budgets. Others reported cuts exceeding 15%. […]

According to PERF respondents, the resources to implement those reforms are evaporating. Police agencies reported the deepest cuts in spending on equipment, personnel and training. That will make it more difficult to attract and hire new officers, purchase equipment like body cameras and train officers in de-escalation and implicit bias.

* USA Today

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the D.C.-based think tank that authored the report, said police operations have not confronted such a threat since the financial crisis of 2008, when operations and force numbers were cut dramatically to account for the steep decline in available public funds. […]

Even smaller cities facing less pressure from the social justice movement have not been able to escape an unfolding financial crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Steamboat Springs, a ski-resort town in northwest Colorado largely supported by tourism-driven sales tax dollars, the police department is cutting its budget by 28% or nearly $1.5 million. It means that vacant positions will go unfilled and civilian employees are taking a 10% pay cut, Police Chief Cory Christensen said.

The police department’s training and recruiting budgets already have been zeroed out.

If Congress doesn’t act, these cuts are only going to get worse. The earlier package does not allow the federal money to replace lost revenues. It can only be spent on unanticipated COVID-related expenses.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - Collinsville Kevin - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:13 am:

    These cuts seem like a good thing to me. Police pensions are going to eventually bleed cities dry anyhow.


  2. - Mayo sandwich - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:22 am:

    It’s time for pro police Congress members to put their money where their mouths are.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    Huh.

    Who woulda thought “Defund the Police” was really Trumpkins deciding not to help first responders and that would be the reason public safety implodes.

    “Defunding the Police”… to own the Libs.

    This is too delicious for “The Onion”.

    Oh.

    ‘Nember when Rauner decided no budgets were “kool” and in the end, it turned out the voters didn’t like that so much?

    “I’m frustrated too but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important… “

    ‘Nember?

    Yeah. This is on a national level of deciding to think “we’ll hurt purposely for change, it’ll be worth it”

    Trumpkins are a silly lot.


  4. - Mayo sandwich - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:35 am:

    “The Democrats want to defund the police.”

    The police need more money because of city revenue shortfalls.

    “Look, a squirrel.”


  5. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    Cry me a river. Welcome to the rest of government.


  6. - don the legend - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    Lucky Pierre and his allies must be happy campers. Police budgets are almost always the biggest item in a municipality’s overall budget. Therefore the Police department’s “waste, fraud and abuse” must also be the biggest. So let’s get busy cutting.


  7. - don the legend - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    The anti government, drain the swamp folks must love this scenario. Police budgets are almost always the biggest item in a municipality’s overall budget. Therefore the Police department’s “waste, fraud and abuse” must also be the biggest. So let’s get busy cutting.


  8. - Amalia - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    Meanwhile, a Mexican Cartel appears to have taken over a Black southside gang. Maybe they need social workers.


  9. - @misterjayem - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    “a Mexican Cartel appears to have taken over a Black southside gang.”

    How do you fit all those dog whistles into your mouth at the same time?

    – MrJM


  10. - don the legend - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    Sorry for the double post. Thought my first one got may not get posted.


  11. - Done - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    It will get done. We’ve all seen these crazy bargaining sessions go too long as this one has but in the end it will get done and they will all look foolish while bragging about what a great job they did.


  12. - Two to tango - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    == Meanwhile, a Mexican Cartel appears to have taken over a Black southside gang. Maybe they need social workers.==
    Or maybe social workers could follow up on wellness checks, people shouting at the clouds and attempted suicides and free up police resources so they can work on real crimes.


  13. - 17% Solution - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 10:43 am:

    == These cuts seem like a good thing to me==
    They seem like a disaster to me.


  14. - pete4illinois - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    Expect a rise in Civil Asset Forfeiture. Better to raffle of your toys than their toys.


  15. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    The better solution is for the Feds to provide funds. If that doesn’t happen, the State will have to act.

    Step one is to remove questionable laws. Reduce reasons for arrest.

    Step two is to revisit the conditions for restraining the mentally ill. The practice of releasing people who can manage when they take their medicine works when they take their medicine. People who repeatedly go off their meds need to be restrained. Treat them as people with multiple DUI’s. Step three is to increase camera surveillance. Strap cameras to taxis and Uber cars. We need more eyes.


  16. - striketoo - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    With shrinking police departments the run on gun dealers by people seeking to protect themselves and their families will continue. It is interesting that so many (especially politicians) who tell us that guns are useless for self defense, surround themselves and their families with guns for just that purpose. I don’t begrudge them their desire for security, I begrudge them their hypocrisy.


  17. - James the Intolerant - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    I heard McConnell say that they want to revise the rules concerning restrictions on current funding that states have received. I do not know why having to lay off police & fire if states are not funded has not been the lead negotiating tool for Democrats.


  18. - Original Rambler - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    The police unions complain about cops having to handle the suicide calls, homeless calls and the like. However, if dropping those non-police calls means a reduction in dues paying police officers, they change their tune. Basic rule of unions: protect the jobs at all costs.


  19. - Abby Normal - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 12:06 pm:

    == However, if dropping those non-police calls means a reduction in dues paying police officers, they change their tune. ==
    FOP Union leader Catanzara said: “If you kneel, you’ll be risking being brought up on charges and thrown out of the lodge,”
    So he sounds like he doesn’t need officers to be with the union that much.


  20. - Payback - Friday, Aug 7, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    “That will make it more difficult to attract and hire new officers…” Lie. You could offer $10 per hour and have a line around the block of people applying to be cops. They get a gun, a badge, and the ability to push others around. There will never be a shortage of police applicants.

    “…purchase equipment like body cameras…” Thanks to our Attorney General Kwame Raoul, body cams are not mandatory in Illinois, unlike Colorado. So where are the real “progressive” Democrats in Illinois for police reform?

    “…train officers in de-escalation and implicit bias.” Right, police are chomping at the bit to “train” in touchy-feely non-violent conflict resolution techniques. The only reason police don’t police themselves is because we taxpayers don’t give them enough money. But they have enough money for full auto weapons, armored vehicles, and multi-jurisdictional paramilitary SWAT teams. Wahh. How about requiring a bachelors degree minimum education to weed out the thugs?


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