The 10 and 10,000-foot views

Three police managers offer their insight on the year at hand in the 2010 roundtable

   Kiederlen: It's tough. Again, we have increasing demands. I think we're going to see, as is the usual cycle, as the economy continues to be bad, crime will continue to go up. It's just the way things go. And when we're all in tough economic times, and our PD has a higher demand for service, service brings on additional cost, and there's no additional monies, and there's really no additional monies, it's interesting trying to figure out how you're going to do it.

   Twombly: I really think that we're facing this for a few more years out, unfortunately. The other thing is just continuing to try to -- I don't want to use the word "survive" -- but maintain the level of service in these upcoming budget years. I guess I've always tried to look at things with a glass half full type of guy. I don't see this economic mess getting cleared up before the next presidential election -- two more years minimum.

   I'm hopeful that by the time I retire, in the next three to five years, there'll start to be an upswing. But am I confident? I can't say that I am. I hope I'm wrong.

   Yaniero: I expect that we shall continue to experience economic challenges for the next five years. From a police point of view, an increase of property crimes will continue as a result of the challenging economy. In addition, in regard to budgets, there will be reductions in federal, state and local law enforcement dollars.

Where have budget cuts hit your agency the hardest?

   Kiederlen: We had to cut most of our auxiliary assistance programs; we had to cut back in some training, mostly because of travel expense, we just had a general budget decrease overall of about 10 percent.

   Twombly: All of our staff had to take a 3-percent pay cut. And then try to do more with less and then on top of that. It's not been an easy year for us by any means. Our budgets have been reduced and it's an issue of trying to prevent layoffs of staff while maintaining the level of service that we've provided.

   About 15 years ago, we were fortunate enough because we had fairly high turnover, we were always running short because someone would always retire or resign. We were able to institute a pre-hiring group where we were able to over hire. With this budget year, we've potentially lost eight positions, but we were able to absorb that without laying people off because essentially, we just eliminated that group of pre-hires.

   Yaniero: The state of North Carolina has endured significant budget reductions, which adversely affect local budgets. In order to address these budget reductions in a high growth environment, the police department staff has been working on a variety of call reduction strategies. We believe that these challenges allow the staff to focus on developing processes that improve the efficiency of delivering police services. These strategies include the development of an online reporting process, the adoption of a comprehensive alarm ordinance, the prioritization and delayed response for calls for service, and the concentration on problem solving at high call locations.

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