Adding Cops: Costly Proposition For Justice System


Philadelphia mayoral candidates want to hire more police officers, but that will be costly, says Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Tom Ferrick Jr. After four years, the cost of a new officer rise to close to $80,000 per year. To put 1,000 more officers on the streets will cost $60 million today and up to $80 million a year down the road. How much does it cost to move the perps through the justice system and find a place for them in prison? A lot.

If the arrests made by new cops result in just 2,000 more perps going to city jails each year, the city will have no choice but to build a new prison. Estimated construction cost: $70 million. Cost of housing those prisoners for one year in that new facility: about $64 million. The annual cost of new probation and parole officers to handle the increased case load would be about $7 million. The cost of adding new judges, staff and courtrooms to handle the influx? About $10 million a year. Ferrick says, “The way I add it up, for every dollar spent on a police officer, you incur an additional $1 in costs elsewhere in the system.” Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson says, “Traditional policing is not working. We locked up 74,000 people last year. We confiscated 6,000 guns and $140 million worth of drugs. If we put another 1,000 police officers out there, we’re just going to make more arrests.”


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