Chiefs of Police Talk Budget Cuts

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

One of the major topics discussed this week by Virginia Chiefs of Police at their mid-year conference in Staunton was the national budget, namely a 68-percent reduction in resources for local and state law enforcement across the country. The worst part is they're taking on more responsibility, especially at the local level.

"While it may be nice to say you could do more with less, that really actually means more with less is going to equal to less and that's a problem," says Mark Marshall, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, who serves on the executive board for the VACP.

He says since 9/11, they've seen more than $3 billion in cuts from local and state law enforcement across the country, and yet more is expected from them.

He says, "Responsibilities, our missions are changing, they're expanding with homeland security, with terrorism, and even, yes, immigration."

Cpl. Jason McNeal, Staunton Police Department, says, "Biological and chemical weapons, we've had to become experts on how to respond to those types of incidents, something that we had never thought about before or had been in the back of our mind, is now a priority."

He adds since 9/11, local law enforcement are trained to handle regional and state situations.

"We've had to go back and train all of our supervisors and officers, who to ask for, when to ask for their services, so we can get the services that we need," says McNeal.

However, Marshall says these endeavors are made difficult with budgets possibly getting tighter.

He says, "Any cuts in those funds would have extreme consequences, actually dire consequences for all of us in public safety."

McNeal says, "If we have a gun that's ten years old how reliable is it? So our budget is very important."

He says the city of Staunton does a good job providing adequate resources to the police force.


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