Budget cuts could mean fewer cops in Carbondale - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Budget cuts could mean fewer cops in Carbondale

Carbondale Department of Public Safety (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS) Carbondale Department of Public Safety (Source: Loreto Cruz KFVS)

If you live in Carbondale, there may soon be less police officers patrolling your neighborhood.

The city is discussing how to reorganize its services to deal with potential cuts proposed by the state. The Carbondale Police Department could be looking at a loss of up to five police officers with the new budget.

City leaders say state cuts they're dealing with mean a 20 percent cut to the city's total cash flow, which translates to a loss of about $480,000.

Thinning out the police force doesn't completely fill the gap, but officials say the savings of $380,000 would put them closer to the number they need to hit.

City manager Kevin Baity says the city has had to make many cuts in the past due to budget concerns, which makes it a lot harder to get services to residents.

“There's gonna be less people on the street responding to calls, and there will be an increase in time for the remaining officers to respond to calls." Baity said. "Anytime you take officers off the street, you know there's generally going to be a price that people have to pay, and that's generally in reduced services.”

Baity says he's seen cuts create a ripple effect over the past ten years. 

Between eight and 10 city jobs eventually had to be reinstated after being cut, just to keep up with service demands in the city. Those cuts took place over the last eight to 10 years.

Regardless, some SIU students say they're not worried about the cuts, or their effect on police coverage.

“If it needs to happen, it needs to happen.” said SIU student Kyle Tellor, "Everybody wants to keep their resources, but you can't keep everything.”

The cuts would mean at most five officers would lose their job as early as the 2016 fiscal year, which amounts to roughly one officer per shift.

The possibility was initially announced on April 8 at one of a series of statewide senate meetings being held to discuss how lawmakers will counteract the state's deficit.

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