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Small cities cutting police. Is that how to go?

Posted at 7:57 AM on September 9, 2010 by Michael Caputo

Public safety can be the lion's share of a Minnesota city's budget. And the costs are primariy in the people doing the work. Mora saved $150,000 eliminating the seven people who were part of the police force. Other cities have merged police forces - looking first at saving money through other kinds of administrative efficiencies. Chisago City and Lindstrom combined police departments without cutting jobs.

But it's feet on the street that cost governments the most. And with cities facing financial pressure, the police are budgetary targets.

On Friday ... Today at noon we will host We held a live online discussion on public safety and budget cuts as part of our InContext series.

We defined how some cities have dealt with budgeting for police in tight fiscal times. And then we will debate how best to solve such a dilemma. Bring your own examples to the table and join us Friday today at noon. Read the transcript of this discussion below.

*John Pechman, Chisago City administrator who oversaw a police merger with a neighboring city.

*Joel Dhein, Mora city administrator, who saw the elimination of a police department.

*Rachel Walker, who oversees policy analysis at the League of Minnesota Cities and will give the bigger picture on cities and public safety spending.

September 2010
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