Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cutting the Police Budget - Hyperbole Rules the Day

The Detroit City Council proposed cutting $12 million from the Detroit Police Department's annual budget. They argue that this is necessary to deal with Detroit's financial problems. Mayor Dave Bing argues that this is irresponsible and would result in laying off approximately 200 police officers, which would endanger public safety. Quite frankly, Mayor Bing's argument is uneducated nonsense.

As I pointed out last January, the Detroit Police Department has a budget that is well-above average for a city of our size. Even after the proposed cuts are made, the Detroit Police Department will have a budget that, on a per resident basis, is 61.1% larger than average. As I pointed out last January, the problem with the Detroit Police Department and its budget is that DPD spends an inordinate amount of money on administrative costs.

The fact remains that if DPD's administrative costs were brought in line with national average, the Department could absorb the full $12 million cut and still hire hundreds of new police officers for patrol and investigative duties. If the Bing Administration cannot find a way to accept these cuts and still make improvements in the quality of police protection then maybe it's time to put competent law enforcement professionals in charge of the Department.

My original post from January is here. It contains links to budget data from each of the 25 cities that have a population less than 1 million but more than 500,000.
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