the webmaster notes that considering the police department gets more money than all of the other city departments combined that cutting the police budget is a damn good place to stop spending money. and if you have had your civil rights violated by some of the jackbooted thugs on the phoenix police department you probably feel like me that the department should be eliminated all together.
Phoenix mulling cuts in police, fire
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 12, 2002 12:00 AM
PHOENIX - One out of every four fire crews would be eliminated and 573 police officers would be laid off if the city's police and fire departments are forced to make 20 percent budget cuts.
To citizens, that would mean longer response times to their emergencies and delays in many criminal investigations, including homicides and sexual assaults.
Also gone would be education and prevention programs, sex offender notification and police squads that investigate child crimes, drug activity and missing persons.
"We will close fire stations," said Assistant Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan. "At some point, you're just not going to have enough. . . . You effectively will have to pick neighborhoods and say, 'We're not going to protect you as well.' "
Those warnings came Wednesday as police and fire departments released drafts of suggested budget cuts. City officials are grappling with an estimated $56 million shortfall. Police, fire and courts make up 60 percent of the city's $880 million operating budget.
Officials caution cutbacks are still being reviewed and won't be finalized by the City Council until February. Actual budget cuts likely would be closer to 6 percent.
Yet, even at 6 percent, 128 police officers would be laid off, the graffiti hotline would be shut down, and the bias crimes unit and drug and youth fire-setter prevention programs would be eliminated.
"We're lean organizations," said Assistant Phoenix Police Chief John Buchanan. "We don't have a lot of extra equipment or personnel or other resources to rely on at times like this. You don't go very far before you start to feel the impact in some very direct ways."
Phoenix City Councilman Phil Gordon said police and fire are basic services and preserving those should be the "top priority."
Yet, he said, cuts could be "catastrophic" if the state slashes revenue sharing to the cities.
"It's either cut fire and police dramatically or it's eliminate other departments that our citizens need and want - libraries, parks, safety inspections, zoning," Gordon said. "If the state cuts us at all, it's which poison do you take?"
Police and fire officials are optimistic cuts will fall far below 20 percent and they will be able to keep basic service delivery intact.
"When someone picks up the phone and really needs a police officer or firefighter, we have got to be able to respond," Buchanan said. "That's a lifeline and that is what we really have to protect. We will protect that."