As hundreds of jobs in Chicago’s police department go unfilled, officers are riding alone in what some cops bitterly call “rolling coffins,” the Associated Press reports. Versailles, Pa., population, 1,700, disbanded its three-member police force. A resident worries that officers from the neighboring town won’t come fast enough if she calls for help. This is how the nation’s economic crisis is afffecting law enforcement. As tax revenue drops, police agencies that for years were bulletproof on funding are tightening their belts. Some worry that criminals will take advantage.
Exactly how many officers are losing their jobs and how many positions are going unfilled is not known. One after another, departments are telling the International Association of Chiefs of Police that officers are being laid off or taking furloughs, positions are being left vacant, and police forces are closing or consolidating. The cuts come as police departments are being asked to take on more responsibilities, such as investigating domestic terrorism, said John Firman, IACP director of research.