Statewide Candidates and Social Media: Weekly Update
Goodbye to the 12th?

Police Training Dollars Scarce

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Perusing budget documents is a favorite pastime here at Triad.  Yes, some people bowl, others watch the Winter Olympics, we engross ourselves in spreadsheets.  Today we bring to you some interesting tidbits about how the newly-proposed budget will affect law enforcement, with a possible solution waiting in the wings.

We know that the Department of Corrections is slated for a big increase in Governor Ed Rendell’s budget, likely because our prison system is stuffed to the gills.  We had remarked a while back on the DOC’s efforts to export some of our prisoners, but despite that effort, we need a lot more jail cells.  So in the “lock up the bad guys” department, put a check mark.

Then there is the “catch the bad guys” department.  Here is where things come in a little leaner.  Yes, the Pennsylvania State Police are slated to receive enough funding for 100 new Troopers, but let’s look at some other, more telling numbers.

The following State Police budget line items receive another round of cuts this year: Law Enforcement Information Technology, Gun Checks and Automated Fingerprint ID Systems. Over at the Commission on Crime and Delinquency, we see the following line items also cut: Victims of Juvenile Crime, Evidence-Based Prevention and Intervention, Weed and Seed, Intermediate Punishment Programs, Intermediate Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Research-Based Violence Prevention.

And finally, we have the most troublesome cut of all.  The Municipal Police Training Program is slated to be slashed by 9.8 percent, to $1.103 million from $1.223 million.  While that number may not jump out at you, keep in mind that last year's budget cut funding for that program by over 70 percent, from $4.582 million in 2008-09 to $1.223 in 2009-10.

Not great news for the men and women in blue, for sure.  And given the fact that Governor Rendell’s proposed budget is not likely to grow any larger, this is probably where those numbers end up.

Unless of course, somebody comes up with a bright idea on how to find some additional money for things like Municipal Police Training…

Oops, we forgot about House Bill 1883, authored by state Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery). Vereb’s bill would add a surcharge to traffic citations to help establish the State Police Training fund.  The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last August, and is cooling its heels over in the Appropriations Committee.

Even though the bill would not earmark funds for Municipal Police Training, Vereb has indicated his willingness to find amendatory language that would perhaps “split the pie” between the State Police and municipal forces.

Has this year’s state budget plan inadvertently put House Bill 1883 in play again?  It looks that way, if no other revenues can be shifted around during the state budget debate. 

Comments

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Police recruitment

For my opinion I say that they should have not slashed the budget for police department. This may affect the services provided by the police officers. It may deteriorate their training, capacity and performance.

Ron Grutza

Well Done! Thanks for highlighting this ongoing problem. However, the problem is even worse than you stated. Your numbers only detail the cuts from the General Fund budget. PSP municipal training money is also allocated from the Motor License Fund. So, if you combine the total numbers from the General Fund and MLF, you get a cut of $9.5 million in FY 08-09 to $2.5 million in FY 10-11, a whopping 74% cut!

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