Budget woes mean fewer officers and less training
WASHINGTON—Police departments around the country are facing major budget cuts, which often means fewer officers on the street. And, a new report has found that officers who do make it on to the street, may not be as well trained as in previous years.
A survey of 608 law enforcement agencies found that nearly 70 percent of police agencies cut back or eliminated training programs this year as part of local government budget reductions, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank. The report found that cuts included a wide range of programs, from ethics and basic legal training to instruction on the proper use of force, according to an article in USA Today.
However, less training was a better option than fewer officers, Tulsa’s Police Chief Chuck Jordan told the publication. He said his department's entire in-service training program was shuttered for a year, beginning in June 2009. "We needed to keep people on the street and saw the cuts to training as a bridge to better times," said Jordan.
The impact of such cuts may not be readily apparent, but authors of the report say it could create serious problems in the near future. "When you pull away the support beams of a building, it doesn't fall down immediately," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, in the article. "But eventually, it's going to have an impact."