Police budget cuts-What will they do to adjust?

Crime in America.Net

We have a student question; “With all the state and local and federal budget cuts, what will law enforcement agencies do to adjust?” Implied is a larger question; can they continue to offer the same levels of public safety services? Bigger question; am I safe?

The driving issue in criminal justice today is adjusting to decreasing budgets. For additional information on the subject, see http://crimeinamerica.net/category/budgetimpact/.

There are lists of issues displayed below from the Police Executive Research Forum in a 2009 document. It’s the best research (that we are aware of) that attempts to answer the student’s question. Note that budget issues have grown much worse since then.

Note further that proposed federal budget cuts would greatly reduce some of the US assistance programs mentioned here, especially the COPS Office grants to hire additional police officers (ranked number one in popularity among police executives).

It’s obvious (at least to us) that police agencies have no choice but to cut services to citizens. The degree of those cuts is unfolding now. Citizens may not like the results.

The Police Executive Research Forum brings together police chiefs from across the country and asks their opinions as to developing issues. Two categories are summarized below and include:

Actions Initiated to Lessen the Impact of Economic Changes

Eliminate/change take-home car policy 27 %

Initiate/increase use of bicycles 23 %

Initiate/increase use of hybrid vehicles 18 %

Initiate/expand use of foot patrols 17 %

Implement facility energy saving programs 17 %

Initiate/increase use of two-person cars 15 %

Initiate/increase use of Segways 13 %

Adjust work hours of staff 12 %

Initiate/expand use of telephone report units 10 %

Police Agencies’ Preferences for Various Types of Federal Assistance to Local Law Enforcement

COPS Office Hiring Grants 23 % 162

Policing Technology Grants 18 % 180

Byrne Grants 14 % 140

Formula Grants to State and Local Gov’t. (pass-thru) 10 % 111

Homeland Security Grants 8% 117

Targeted Federal Aid Programs (e.g., Weed and Seed) 7 % 108

Federal and State/Local Partnerships 6% 97

Enforcing Laws Against Illegal Aliens 3 % 46

Source: PERF 2008 Violent Crime Survey

Source: http://www.policeforum.org/library/critical-issues-in-policing-series/VCrime&EconomyI.pdf

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