Providence To Keep Community Policing Despite Layoff Threat


Assessing what might happen if Providence lays off up to 80 police officers, the Providence Journal says that when departments downsize, the priority in staffing is placed on the patrol divisions — the officers with the most contact with the public. Cutbacks usually come in administrative staffing. Mayor Angel Taveras cited six other cities he said had turned to layoffs to balance police department budgets: San Jose, Ca., Houston, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Paterson and Camden, N.J.

Houston skirted layoffs in negotiations with its police union this month. In San Jose, union concessions saved some jobs, but 106 of the 1,200-member department still face possible layoffs. Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum said, “This is, unfortunately, the reality of times we're in. Cities are doing this reluctantly, and it's having enormous impacts.” Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said the city will maintain community policing, but what that will look like — fewer police districts, fewer specialized investigative units — is being worked out.

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