Free «Budget Request» Essay

Budget Request

Re: Budget Request for additional law enforcement officers.

The City of Portland Police Department is requesting for a boost in funding for the 2012-2013 financial year to finance the recruitment of additional law enforcement officers.

The Police department’s November 2012-13 primary budget request is for the allotment of up to $ 200,000 in the City council’s budget to the Police Department to fund the recruitment of five additional law enforcement officers. These funds are required to fill the positions that have gone unfilled over the past six years. The increased workload due to the rise in population has created a major hindrance in upholding the statutory mandate of the appropriate ratio of police officers to civilians. Some examples of specific positions the police department requires to fill immediately include staff to provide legal and processing support as well as run patrol operations around the city.

Purpose of the Fund

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The request for additional law enforcement personnel has been primarily precipitated by the need for additional service provision to cater for the growing population in the city. The current number of police officer available in each precinct around the city is not sufficiently close to the number needed to provide protection and service to civilians. Contrary to the perception that the downtown area of the city is crammed with criminal activities, as the Chief of Police, I would like to clarify that the crime rate in the downtown area has instead dropped and is lower than any other part of the city.

Background

Population is the central basis for requesting additional police personnel in the city. It is important to highlight that the current number of active police officers in the city stands at 30 with an additional 12 support staff, compared to the total City population of 75000 residents. The budgetary request will primarily be used to recruit additional law enforcement officers in order to balance the ratio.

The request is based on restoring police staff to the number it was in the prior years before the cuts in budgetary allocation to the city. In the justification for some of the budgetary requests for additional funds to support additional personnel, the police department asserts that the requested law enforcement officers would restore the department to the personnel level it had prior to the budgetary cuts approved by the council five years ago. This move resulted i the loss of three officers through transfers and hampered the recruitment of additional personnel over the last three years. The reductions were passed through a unanimous line –item veto by the council members. It is important to note that to some degree, the request for additional personnel would restore the police department to prior staff levels to handle the increase in workloads in the system. The backlogs registered drastically shot up in the first two years after the reduction of the budget and has gradually piled up over the last three years. Supplementary and part-time personnel from the neighboring districts are not able to cope with the large workload as they are only available 18 hours a week. The need for personnel has been evident over the three years and the Mayor’s office has been previously informed and briefed on the situation but adequate response on the matter has not been forthcoming.  

The loss of the personnel has resulted in larger work backlogs over the last three years. The request for these personnel reflects the department’s priority and commitment to eliminating all unnecessary backlogs, particularly those related to civilian protection and criminal activities.

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The office of the Chief of Police recommends that the council approves the recruitment of five additional personnel for the investigative and administrative divisions because the Department has registered consistent backlogs in these areas. The budgetary allocations will be conducted over the course of two years with provisions for additional recruitment in the event of increased population in the city. Approving these additional personnel on an initial limited time basis will allow the police department and the City council to assess the impact of the additional officers on reducing the backlog of workloads and complaints that need to be addressed. The council and police department could review the results for these additional personnel and re-examine the need for more personnel in the future since the city is experiencing a steady growth rate of between 3% and 5% annually.

Supplementary need for additional funds

In addition to filling the personnel positions left through budget cuts, the Police department has initiated different programs in the City that aim at improving protection and service provision by the law enforcement department. Over the past three years, the department has been focused on improving core operations through introducing programs such as the new whistle blower program where members of the public can provide high-qquality information regarding sensitive criminal related activities allowing investigators to focus resources more efficiently.  Additionally, the department has made operational a number of internal reforms intended to improve the police structure, internal controls, capabilities, strengths and enhance workforce skills and capabilities. These programs has been positive as successes registered have been the establishment of a Chief operations commissioner’s post; reduction in costs as a result of the community participation in public policing and the implementation of a performance management system. These programs require additional personnel to run efficiently and ensure service provision is up to standard.

Problem Areas

The council may raise concern over the fact that the requested number of personnel does not match the number of personnel required in the program areas. This might be viewed as the Chief of police’s prioritizing certain areas of the department. However, the validity of the urgency of the additional personnel requirements is justified at this time. Considering the sensitive nature of the work and service the police department offers to the community, we can never have enough security personnel at the City’s disposal. The occurrences of unprecedented emergency circumstances provide situations where the needs for emergency services become quite evident, a service that the current state of the police department cannot provide.

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Source of funds

Additionally, another issue of concern to the council might be the source of money to fund the training, recruitment and maintenance of additional officers, especially after considering the heavy tax burden already imposed on the people to maintain the current law enforcement officers. The Office of the Chief of Police recommends that the council implement a $50 annual parcel tax (Sealy & Milman, 2012),  for three years, which would raise approximately $ 200,000 annually to hire new police officers. The tax would be tiered: the home owners would contribute the $ 40; renters would contribute a certain percentage while the property owners would pay a certain percentage as well, on the basis on how much frontage road they have. On the other hand, the local Police Department could go under federal receivership. This will allow the Police department to be overseen by the federal government instead of the City. This new position will enable the department to generate enough funds and unlimited resources in recruitment of new officers and the provision of service. 

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