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City Hall press release on Providence Police cuts:
FACING FISCAL CRISIS, PROVIDENCE TO LAYOFF 60-80 POLICE PERSONNEL
Commissioner of Public Safety to oversee staff reduction, identify best strategies to minimize impact on public safety in Providence
PROVIDENCE, RI – Facing a $110 million structural deficit, Mayor Angel Taveras recently submitted a budget to the Providence City Council that recommends $64 million in spending cuts across City government, including a 10% cut to police and fire budgets.
Following the release of the budget, the Taveras administration continued negotiations with union leadership to realize $6 million in cuts to the police department budget. Union leadership and representatives from the Taveras administration both approached the bargaining process in good faith but have regrettably not been able to achieve these savings without layoffs. Beginning next week, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare will begin proceedings to eliminate 60-80 positions within the department.
“After laying off 10% of the City’s non-union staff, closing six schools, terminating teachers, and asking taxpayers to accept a significant increase in property taxes, we now must make the difficult decision to reduce our police force. We have not taken this action lightly and it was with a heavy heart today that we delivered the news to the men and women who so proudly serve the City of Providence. Unfortunately, we simply must realize these cost savings to save our City from fiscal collapse,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.
The reduction in spending is absolutely necessary|the City cannot borrow to fill a $110 million structural deficit and without immediate action, the City could begin to experience cash flow issues as early as this summer. Taveras made the layoff decision in consultation with Commissioner Pare. Pare will oversee the process to minimize the effect of reductions on public safety in Providence.
“I have instructed Police Department leadership to make necessary adjustments to patrols and assignments to ensure that the number of officers patrolling the streets of Providence remains as consistent as possible under these circumstances. Keeping Providence safe for residents and visitors remains a top priority for the administration, and we will manage this difficult transition carefully, with all energies focused on maintaining the highest standards of public safety in Providence,” said Pare.
Providence is not the first city forced to reduce its police force in response to budget crisis. Other cities taking similar action include San Jose, CA (106 positions eliminated), Houston, Texas (181 positions eliminated), Cleveland, OH (150 positions eliminated), Camden, NJ (163 positions eliminated), Patterson, NJ (125 positions eliminated), Cincinnati, OH (144 positions eliminated), among others.
“Every day the officers who serve our City put themselves in harm’s way to protect those who live, work or visit Providence. This fiscal crisis does not diminish the gratitude we feel and I deeply regret that we could not achieve the savings we needed in another way,” said Taveras.
- ‘That’s where the money is’ – why Taveras may lay off cops [Ted Nesi | WPRI]
- Some Providence police say layoffs will cause crime to go up [The Providence Journal]
- Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare’s letter to Providence police [WPRI (.pdf)]
- Questions of safety as mayor calls for layoffs [The Providence Journal]
- Gathering clues to the impact of police layoffs in Providence [The Providence Journal]
More as it comes in.