Back in black

     In a recent CNN poll, up to two-thirds of those surveyed reported some belt-tightening as a result of the sagging economy.

     Sixty-seven percent of the 1,096 adults questioned reported trimming the amount they planned to spend on holiday gifts; 65 percent noted they've curtailed spending on leisure travel, dining out and entertainment. And 31 percent stated they had reduced their spending on necessities such as food or medicine, heating or electric bills.

     These reductions are also mirrored in today's police departments. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, seeks to slash police salaries. Naperville, Illinois, is cutting nine vacant positions, including three officers, and trimming $60,000 from its training budget. Vallejo, California, already down 30 officers from the 150 it had in January, expects to lose an additional 30 or more officers by year's end. The news isn't pretty for any agency, and will likely worsen before it gets better.

     Law Enforcement Technology has adjusted the format of its annual Buyer's Guide to include articles designed to help agencies maintain efficiencies during difficult economic times. Check out "Champagne fleets on a beer budget," which discusses how agencies can obtain the most bang for their budgeted fleet buck. "Coping with cuts" takes an in-depth look at how some agencies are dealing with reduced equipment dollars. And finally in "The color of money," Officer.com writer Jim Donahue takes a proactive look at how user fees can help agencies bring their budgets back into the black.

     At Law Enforcement Technology, we understand the economy isn't simply affecting Main Street America, it's diminishing the strength of the blue line, too. In 2009, we pledge to bring more articles like the ones mentioned above to help you keep your budgets out of the red.

     As every law enforcer knows, criminals love a bad economy. But faltering economy or not, police departments need to run at optimum efficiency to keep crime at bay.

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