Friday, July 17, 2009

"De-Civilianization" hurts policing

The Police Executive Research Forum put out a great article in their June newsletter with arguments that echo many of the same ones we made during budget discussions earlier this year.

I hope you can peruse the whole article, “De-Civilianization of Policing: A Big Step Backwards,” here (it’s on p. 2):

I wanted to mention some of the highlights that PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler writes in this column:

“I don’t know how many newspaper stories I have seen about city councils and mayors saying to their communities, ‘Unfortunately, the economy is so bad, we even need to cut our police department. But don’t worry, we won’t lay off any officers – just civilians.’

“What a lot of politicians may not realize is that this amounts to reversing one of the long-term trends in the professionalization of policing.”

Wexler also says, “What will happen when civilian positions are eliminated, as most chiefs will tell you, is that the work that was done by these civilians will not go undone. Chiefs will end up taking officers or command-level personnel off the street and putting them where civilians were.”

The KCPD is down 57 civilians from where we were at this point last year.

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