San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is announcing drastic budget cuts, including to a sector he holds dear: public safety.
The cuts are needed to close the City's $43 million budget gap.
For the first time ever, police and fire departments are taking a hit. More than $8 million could be cut from police budget, while another $4 million could be trimmed from the fire department.
Under the mayor's proposed mid-fiscal year cuts, The Fire-Rescue Department would rotate 2 of its 60 engine and truck companies out of service every day. Adding to a problem is emergency response times that meet national standards on only half of the calls.
The Police Department would shut down on of its two semi-annual training academies, send administrators and detectives back to patrol beats and do away with civilian support jobs.
Proposed staff reductions would include:
- Two fire stations
- Seven libraries
- 50 park positions
- 37 police department administrative and community service positions
Program reductions also would affect recruiting which police union officials fear would hinder hiring and retention of officers to beef up what's already a thinly staffed force.
Police Chief William Lansdowne and Fire Chief Tracy Jarman said public safety will not be compromised. According to Frank De Clercq, with San Diego Fire Fighters Local 145, there's no meat to cut. "There's nowhere within this structure to cut, anywhere," said Clercq. "We can barely function right now and they come back and offer up something like that? It makes no sense."
Read the voiceofsandiego.org's "Sanders Proposes Unprecedented Budgets Cuts" for more details.