The Rocky Mountain News reports that after the biggest hiring push in the Denver Police Department’s history, the city is surprised to find it has too many police on its municipal payroll. The paper says Denver, which has hired 516 police recruits since 2003, has about 65 more men and women in uniform than were factored into the 2007 budget. The reason? Fewer officers than anticipated have retired or quit, so the attrition rate the budget was projected on has turned out to be inaccurate.
The staffing levels are forcing the department to request $2.5 million from Denver’s contingency reserve – a fund to cover unexpected expenses – to pay for officer salaries, the News reports. “You want to get as close to the authorized strength as possible, but you don’t want to fall below,” said Ed Scholz, the city’s acting budget director. “We err on the side of being conservative, rather than going under and having less police officers on the street than we have budgeted.” The News says several neighboring communities have encountered similar situations.