Much has been talked about in town, and all across the country, on whether communities should downsize their police departments.
Some say that instead of having officers answer some calls, it would be better to have social workers handle issues such as family disputes or people just misbehaving.
Recently, our city council rejected two proposals to hire additional police officers, the first proposal called for four officers to be added to the department, and the second proposal requesting just three.
The main reason given for the rejections centered around the cost to the city each year – over $200,000.
For sure, that’s a sizable chunk of change – especially for a city that is in deficit spending, and burning through its budget surplus.
At the rate the city is spending, there is a good chance the budget surplus will be gone by this time next year.
Yet, at the same time, the city just added an additional $180,000 to the budget to cover unexpected police overtime.
Would the hiring of extra officers offset that problem? Would it eliminate overtime? We doubt it.
The alternative that some favor, to hire social workers instead, would also be a cost to the city. And it raises a tangle of questions: How many? Would you have social workers here around the clock?
It’s not a very well thought-out proposal, but one perhaps worth further exploring.
Posted Nov. 19, 2021