Any of This Sound Familiar?
Yeah, it's the New York Times, but it sounds disturbingly similar to the alarm we've been sounding:
- SACRAMENTO — At first, it seemed just an unwelcome nod to frugality. Overtime for police officers was reduced. Vacant positions went unfilled.
But each year brought more bad news for this city’s Police Department. In 2011, faced with the biggest budget cuts yet — $12.2 million — Chief Rick Braziel was forced to take drastic action: he laid off sworn officers and civilian employees; eliminated the vice, narcotics, financial crimes and undercover gang squads, sending many detectives back to patrol; and thinned the auto theft, forensics and canine units. Police officers no longer responded to burglaries, misdemeanors or minor traffic accidents.
Earlier this year, the traffic enforcement unit was disbanded. The department now conducts follow-up investigations for only the most serious crimes, like homicide and sexual assault.
And how about this?
- Chief Braziel said he had tried to make the cuts strategically, making sure that the public’s highest priority — having a police officer respond in a timely fashion when a 911 call comes in — is met and preserving a focus on violent crimes. (“There’s no law that says you have to investigate homicides, but you don’t just stop investigating homicides,” he said.) Detectives serve on regional task forces led by the F.B.I. that focus on gangs and trafficking. To help morale, Chief Braziel has also offered short-term rotations to patrol officers, providing some variety now that their chances for promotion are severely limited.
“I could cry all day long about the budget cuts and the 30 percent and the loss of people and everything else,” Chief Braziel said. “But it doesn’t do any good because you get dealt a hand of cards with a budget crisis and you’re playing stud poker — you can’t give back the cards and say deal me two or three more.”
“You’ve got to figure out within the new rules of the game how to do it better,” he said.
But he is not blind to the effects of paring down a police force to its core.
In 2011, Chief Braziel said, the cuts, in his opinion, went past the tipping point. While homicides have remained steady, shootings — a more reliable indicator of gun violence — are up 48 percent this year. Rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and vehicle thefts have also increased, though in smaller increments.
Wow. It sure sounds like what's happening here. Of course, Rahm and McBraggart claim other crimes are down - something we take direct issue with. CompStat is perfect cover for altering/bending/lying about statistics and has been thoroughly debunked by former NYPD brass and university professors. At some point, you hit "diminishing returns." We'd speculate we hit that point about a year ago, given the 25% uptick in killings and who knows how many shootings.
Labels: department issues