U.S. police departments are streamlining patrols, reducing training and cutting back on some preventive programs as their budgets fall victim to the struggling economy, reports CNN. A survey of 200 departments during the summer by the Police Executive Research Forum reported 39 percent of respondents said their operating budgets were cut because of the economy and 43 percent said the faltering economy had affected their ability to deliver services.
Among actions taken by other departments contacted by CNN: The Virginia State Police delayed starting a new class of 63 cadets until next April and is leaving open 27 civilian positions. Plano, Tx., is leaving 13 vacant positions unfilled. Many places, such as Phoenix, Arizona, and Fairfax County, Va., have been particularly hit by the foreclosure crisis and the precipitous fall in real estate taxes. Phoenix’s Chief Jack Harris says he has cut his budget by 3 percent by delaying purchases and some new programs. Several agencies contacted by CNN said they have not had layoffs, but they have been asked to prepare for the possibility next year — especially if the economy worsens.