City Official : “Lock your doors and load your guns”
The bankrupt city of San Bernardino, CA voted last week to slash its fiscal-year budget by $26 million, to close up a $52.4 million shortfall. No, $26 million isn’t enough, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But the $26 million will have a significant impact on the operating budget for police and fire, and that’s got folks in a tizzy.
The difference in the law enforcement budget won’t mean a big cut in the current sworn police force. It’s down to 270 today, from a mid-2000s high of 358, but that cutback has already happened. The new budget figure caps personnel at 260. As officers retire, they won’t be replaced until the number drops below 260.
Although its crime numbers have declined overall since 2005 (leveling out in 2011 and 2012), San Bernardino remains among the most dangerous cities of its size in the country, posting about twice as many crime incidents as the national average. Violent crime in San Bernardino is especially high, twice that of California as a whole. San Bernardino’s 260 officers compare favorably to the 214 on the Gilbert, AZ police force, a city in the same size category (200,000-215,000). But Gilbert’s crime numbers are lower – much lower. Cities with crime rates similar to San Bernardino’s, like Spokane, WA, Birmingham, AL, Richmond, VA, and Rochester, NY, have much larger police forces, running to sworn-officer rosters between 700 and 800.
So the San Bernardino city attorney advised citizens at a community meeting in November to “Go home, lock your doors, and load your guns.” In response to the media furor over this suggestion, James Penman had this to say…
Pic From “Big Hairy News”