City manager proposes budget cuts; 44 police officers could be eliminated

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati city manager proposed budget cuts Monday that recommended the elimination of 50 full time positions before the year-end, 44 of them are police officers.

They are the foundation, the bedrock of a city," said North side resident, Sharon Koehler. "One other thing is, is the diminished quality of life, it would be gravely diminished, those are some of the first things people coming into a city look for, how safe are these streets."
FOP President Kathy Harrell said the department hasn't had class of new recruit officers since 2008 -- that coupled with attrition, she says will have the force operating without an adequate number of officers.
"We're going to be down over 140 police officers, we have a homicide rate that has increased, that's higher than it was at this time last year, at some point, council member need to realize that citizens and the tax payers in Cincinnati, public safety is their number one priority," Harrell said.
Harrell also says the layoffs wouldn't amount to any actual savings for tax payers.
"It's actually going to cost the city over $70,000 to lay off 44 police officers, we're still going to lose officers through attrition, there no need to lay off any officers in 2011," Harrell said.
"I think the proposed police layoffs are absolutely necessary," said Council member Laure Quinlivan.
Quinlivan says the city isn't sacrificing safety by laying off officers.
"More bodies does not necessarily make a city safer, it's about time we did the right sizing of public safety," Quinlivan said.

Along with police officers, city workers and two city departments will be directly affected. Milton Dohoney, city manager, will officially proposed the $5 million budget cut to city council on Monday, but released the proposal Friday afternoon.

The recommended mid-year reductions for 2011 total $5.1 million. Of that amount, approximately $2.9 million consists of temporary reductions. Conversely, there are approximately $2.2 million in permanent reductions that, if adopted, would generate $8.5 million in 2012 savings.

The 2011 mid-year reduction plan includes the elimination of 50 full time equivalent (fte) positions. Of the 50 positions recommended for elimination, 49 are filled positions.

Even with the elimination of the 44 positions, the police department's reduction plan includes an assumption that the department will receive a federal cops hiring program grant to retain 50 additional police officer positions for three years.

The grant will provide $1.2 million in 2011 and $4.4 million in 2012. The department has applied and is awaiting a decision from the department of justice, which we expect in the fall. If the police department is not awarded the grant, it would then be necessary to lay off 50 additional police officers to meet the projected savings for 2012.

The proposal to eliminate 44 police officer positions would clearly have a service impact; however, the department has indicated that it will re-organize sworn staff to maintain street strength.

The incoming chief of police will make the final determination regarding how the department will absorb the reduction and reorganize personnel to meet service demands.

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