Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top of the list

I reported in The Chief's Corner last Tuesday about the results of the deliberative discussions hosted by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center on behalf of the City. The basic work of the Center, though, has been the scientific survey of 600 residents to gather information about City budget priorities.

The results are back, and as with the deliberative discussions, Safety & Security ranked as the most important outcome by a healthy margin. Within that category, fire and ambulance topped police as the most important service, but police topped fire as the top spending priority. When asked to allocate a hypothetical $100 across the City's eight budget outcomes, citizens allocated the largest amount ($21) to police services.

This finding really isn't much of a surprise. As Mayor Beutler has noted, safety & security is one of the fundamental reasons cities came into existence in the first place. Another historical reason-for-being is trade and commerce. Cities have always been hubs of economic activity, and Economic Opportunity was the second most important spending priority on the survey.

The Police Department has the largest tax funded budget in the Lincoln's general fund budget. Lest anyone think we are fat, look over my many previous posts on this issue, or just read this article from the Colorado Springs Gazette. Lincoln has 317 police officers, and had a population of 241,167 back at the time of the last Census Bureau estimate on July 1, 2006. Do your own math and figure out how many police officers Lincoln would need at the "saturation point" Colorado Springs finds itself with 1.7 officers per thousand.

Hint: (1.7 x 241.167) - 317

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chief, what did you think when the majority of the people at the meeting raised their hands when asked if the Police should keep their current budget? I can imagine what you may have been thinking. =)

jenn

Tom Casady said...

3:47-

I was thinking "You sure don't see what we do."

lpd said...

One could argue that you chief don't see what "We Do." "We" being the Ofc's working this city. Despite the lack of support by you and some of your captains we continue to work hard. But feel free to keep taking the credit.

Anonymous said...

To LPD 5:20
Give me a break! Yea we may be a little short on the street but go get yourself a desk job in another company and tell me you don't work harder there than here at LPD.
The chief uses the "we" as in our department as a whole. His position is not taking calls, it is looking over the whole department.
I think he can use the phrase "WE" to generalize the dept.
When your sorry behind gets sued for something you do wrong, I'm sure the chief will also be the "we" listed in the suit because he is acountable for you. So I think you either need to take your bad attitude elsewhere if your not happy or get over it and be thankful you have a career.
No I'm not a capt, sgt nor did I take the promotions test. I'm tired of all the bad attitude.
The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

HeHateMe said...

C'mon 5:20. This 'We' thing again? What do you want him to say? They? It may not seem like it all of the time but the department is a team. I'm not a Captain or Sergeant either (I don't think the man even likes me) but I'll defend his right to say 'We' when referring to the police department.

Anonymous said...

Chief, I actually saw the forum on channel 5 the other day. The panel was pretty clear about how they have done a variety of belt tightening. One thing which seemed to be missing as far as information to the forum was the way some departments essentially squeeze money from others.

Specifically, how much do you pay the radio shop, I.T. or others for radio maintenance, computer, phone maintenance, Internet connection, copier, fax, paper and pens annually?

In the case of the radio shop there is a per radio charge. I am sure you have the highest number of radios within the city.

If a radio breaks and parts have to be replaced. You pay for the part (at an inflated rate) only since you have paid for the radio to be repaired. Batteries are replaced, also at an inflated rate to your department. Most radios are not repaired or even touched throughout the year by radio technicians, yet you still pay "insurance" to cover the labor involved if they are. Don't these other departments have their own budgets?

You can go to Office Depot (ok so maybe with recent news stories this is not the best example) buy a copier, fax machine or computer and pay far less than the same item which, by internal city contract, must be purchased in house. You pay hundreds of dollars more for because of this process.

Taking this "overcharging" into account, how much do you think the Police Department alone would save if you were able to purchase these supplies and equipment at the same direct from the vendor rate the City paid for them?