Thursday, July 21, 2005

More Council Budget Chickens Home To Roost; Cuts To Metro Police Probable, Says Nashville City Paper

The Nashville City Paper reports that Metro Finance Director David Manning is finding that the substitute budget cuts passed by Metro Council "don't work." They "don't work" to the tune of $5 million. Consequently, Metro Departments are being asked to slash their budgets to offset the gap.

One of those Departments upon which neighborhoods rely for safety and security, the Metro Police, will reportedly cut 18 full-time employees, which will decrease the time that police officers spend on front line patrol since officers would be expected to assume more clerical and administrative functions at the stations. According to both Manning and Police Chief Ronal Serpas, those cuts will create "public safety problem." The only real improvements budgeted by the Council will be upgrades to the Department's information system.

These cuts in police service to our community join a growing list of other Metro services documented here on Enclave. I will be following up with the Central Precinct to see if their patrols and response time will be adversely affected. With the recent spike in crime because of the closing of John Henry Hale homes and the otherwise rapid transition of the area, these cuts are bad news for us.

Perhaps when Metro Council members called the budget they recently passed a "substitute" budget, they meant that urban residents should substitute prayers for safety in place of police presence. If we're going to lose patrols, we might not have a prayer.

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