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05-26-10, 08:49 AM #1
City budget cuts mean fewer cops on the beatTight fiscal times have forced the police department there to cut back on investigating certain crimes, including those involving property, unless there are hard leads. Detectives once dedicated to those incidents have been reassigned to patrol.
The Huntington Beach police agreed to slash $1 million from its $58 million budget earlier this year to help close a $4 million city budget gap. The departmenthas been unable to replace the 22 officers who retired in recent years, leaving it with a force of 237.
"We don't have the personnel to follow up anymore," said Lt. Russell Reinhart, a department spokesman, adding the department shed $3 million from its budget last year and plans to trim another $1 million in the coming year. "There's nothing left to do but cut services."
Putting the squeeze on police departments shows just how desperate city officials have become as they struggle to balance their budgets amid declining tax revenue and state aid. Having already slashed spending on social services, education and recreation, many are forced now to turn to the previously untouchable area of public safety.
Some 22% of local elected officials said they are making cuts in public safety, according to a National League of Cities report released Monday. This is up from 14% reported in a similar survey in December.
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