The Metropolitan Police Department may see a slight dip in the number of sworn officers next year, but the head of the University Police Department said it likely would not affect campus safety.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray’s proposed budget for 2012 only offers sufficient funding to add on 120 officers, leaving the police force down 60 officers as about 180 officers leave the agency yearly.
Gray’s budget sets aside nearly $470 million for the department, slightly up from the $469 million for 2011, but significantly less than 2010’s $505 million budget.
Rob Marus, a Gray staffer, said public safety is a priority and the decreasing number of police is not a reflection of the budget, but rigorously recruiting.
“The budget has nothing to do with the fact that the number of patrols are dipping,” Marus said. “Even though we’re finally putting money in the mayor’s budget for new officers, they’re still going to see continued dipping because it’s going to take, I believe, 18 months for the them to get through training.”
UPD Chief Kevin Hay said he does not expect the reduction of MPD patrols to impact the level of safety on campus.
“I believe [UPD] has adequate resources to suppress most crime,” Hay said in.?”We do rely on the Metropolitan Police for support, but our numbers will not be affected, meaning the [UPD] presence will be maintained at current levels.”
MPD Chief Cathy Lanier said, while reducing sworn staff will have an impact on the department, MPD will prioritize its responsibilities.
“Over the past few years, MPD has been able to weather the challenging economic times while still improving public safety because of our sustained efforts to develop new efficiencies and savings for the department and the city,” Lanier said. “We’re just going to have to be creative about prioritizing. While we will have fewer sworn members, we are committed to providing the same high level of service to the city – such as maintaining our level of uniformed patrols and solid investigation teams to close cases.”
Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for Gray’s office, said public safety remains a priority.
“Mayor Gray will work with Chief Cathy Lanier to ensure the public safety of all residents in all neighborhoods, including the college communities,” McCoy said.