Police chief discusses millions in budget cuts to department

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -The Mobile Police Department will be seeing a lot less money this year if the mayor’s proposed budget passes.

FOX10 News spoke with Mayor Stimpson’s Chief of Staff Colby Cooper Friday, March 14 who said the proposed budget cuts will deal directly with how the police department spends its money.

The budget cuts almost $6 million dollars from the department and we wanted to know how the lack of funds are going to affect you.

Mobile Police Chief James Barber says he’s already making changes within the police department eliminating certain management positions and reallocating where the money goes.

“There were five chief positions and by eliminating the deputy chief rank we eliminate one level of management,” Barber said.

Chief Barber says that’s not going to take officers off the street.

“You will see less management but no impact of beat level officers and the strategic initiative is to stem the flow of attrition within the police department so far we’ve been able to do that.”

The chief says the department has a ten percent attrition rate which means there are usually 40 to 50 positions that aren’t filled or the officers are in training. Decreasing that rate, Baber says will save big bucks.

“Every year 40-50 positions, that’s about two million dollars a year is what it costs to have that turnover. Streaming the flow of attraction, you have two million dollars saving right there,” he said.

One of the chief’s goals is to increase effectiveness within the department and he hopes to do so by consolidating management and eliminating a precinct.

He said officers don’t respond from the precincts and the city need officers on the beats and in the neighborhoods.

The chief says with no extra money there won’t be any extra hires anytime soon.

He says most of the changes are within the police administration.

The city council has to vote to accept the budget but there’s no word on when that vote will happen.

The City of Mobile’s finance committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, March 18.

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