IACP Press Release - Police Chiefs: Budget Cuts, Increased Demands Leave Law Enforcement Struggling To Protect Public Safety

Law enforcement at risk of reverting to reactive approaches to crime

Alexandria, VA –The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) today launched a Policing in the 21st Century Initiative in response to a nationwide outcry from America’s law enforcement community. The IACP brought together over 400 law enforcement leaders who took part in conversations about the impact the new economy is having on the field. 94 percent of respondents said that we are seeing a “new reality” in American policing developing.

Additionally, over 55 percent of respondents said that the new economy presented a serious or severe problem to their agency. Over 85 percent of agencies reported that they were forced to reduce their budget over the last year with nearly half agencies surveyed reported that they had to lay-off or furlough staff in the past 12 months.

Most agencies did not anticipate the reductions or the seriousness of the problem to end soon: Over 40 percent said the coming year presented a serious or severe problem to their agency, with over one-third saying that they would have to further reduce their budgets by 10 percent or more in the coming year.

IACP President and chief of the Smithfield, VA Police Department Mark A. Marshall proposed the initiative as a top priority during his term. In speaking about the initiative Marshall said, “I am afraid that we know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. These deep cuts have left law enforcement executives struggling to protect their communities effectively and many have been forced to revert back to a reactive policing environment and abandon the great strides we have made in the community policing era. For the past decade, communities throughout the United States have enjoyed lower crime rates and an improved standard of living because of the investment they have made in the men and women of law enforcement. ”

Unfortunately, the very programs and policing philosophies that spearheaded this decline in crime are now under grave threat. The negative effect of reducing services to our communities cannot be overstated—the economic slowdown has forced state, local and tribal governments to adopt massive cutbacks. And, most troubling, many communities who have faced the most severe cuts are also experiencing the most violence.

In response to these widespread concerns, the IACP has developed a series of comprehensive resources for law enforcement that are faced with policing in the new economy. Recently, in cooperation with the SAS, a leader in business analytics software and services, the IACP hosted the first in a series of nationwide law enforcement webinars that will allow police chiefs throughout the country to exchange ideas and best practices and discuss the challenges they are facing and the solutions they have identified. The IACP is also developing an online resource to assist police chiefs as they strive to identify new solutions to meet the array of challenges confronting them. The web portal will include an e-library of resources addressing contemporary policing issues and challenges, as well as a technical assistance center.

For more information, please visit www.TheIACP.org/21stCenturyPolicing

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is the world’s oldest and largest association of law enforcement executives. Founded in 1893, the IACP has more than 21,000 members in over 100 countries.