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The Costs Associated with Hiring a Police Officer week 5 discussion 1 response 2

Police personnel cost can be as much as 75% of the operating budget of a police department.  Do you think that this is money well spent?  Should we ask our law enforcement agencies to do more with less?  Should the technological advances in law enforcement replace physical police officers?  What impact would this have on the community? Support your assertions with information from a scholarly source.

Our discussion first, then the individuals response nee to tell the bad and good of post, list references

Dave wrote:

he Lamar Police Department spends 88% of its budget on all of the police personnel.  This includes office staff, animal control officers and code enforcement officers.  This includes all attached benefits and insurance for 25 people.  This is average pay of $56,689.24 for all employees, even the office of the Chief. 

Over the years, I have seen more than 75 people come and go from our department. Many move to the larger cities where pay is higher, but so is the cost of living.  This same condition is discussed in the article concerning New Jersey Police Officers making a large amount of money, but some is lost in the cost of living (Megerian, 2010). 

Many years ago, we raised the base salary above $36,000.00 per year as a starting wage to become competitive in the job market.  This money was well spent as applications began coming in.  But the problem was the officers were either in trouble or under investigation with their current employer, the big cities, or not trained at all.  We have become and will probably remain a training agency for larger departments unless another avenue of retention can be obtained or developed. 

I would argue that money to keep those with training and experience is vital to a police department.  The cost for training new recruits and maintaining police officers is high.  The Chief of Police with Lamar Police Department advised that it costs $10,000.00 just to equip a new recruit.  There is added costs for training time in the Field Training Process which is 16 weeks long.  The costs are incurred as we pay for a full-time officer as they are in training with our department, so in essence we have two officers doing one person’s job.  This should be revisited in the budgeting process as a prohibitive cost to our department.  But, the opposite consideration takes into account the limited access we have to qualified candidates.

When considering the costs, one must see that the people working in the department are there for a reason.  They have been trained and are qualified to do the job.  Their job is not easy and assumes many risks that are not taken by other employees in other job assignments.  When considering Job Safety Analysis with our insurance company, the risks in most call responses require a full sheet of paper.  Most JSA’s for other employees of the city do not require a full page for one job.  The level of knowledge, training requirements, and risks management skills that must be maintained by police officers requires that pay be in accordance with these levels.  Several years ago, a wage-comparability study (Mikesell, 2011) was completed in our department.  We were found to be repulsively low compared to many agencies throughout the state.  The pay was adjusted and stability was achieved for a few years.  This has since changed as officers are looking for higher pay again.

Police departments are limited in the amount that budgets can grow.  The populace can only support so much and will eventually require leadership to reduce or at the very least limit this budget as seen in Tempe Arizona (Boehnke, 2010).   

Technology will assume some tasks normally completed by law enforcement officers.  Computers complete analysis and reports that were traditional completed by staff.  Cameras and unmanned surveillance equipment can monitor locations of high importance that were traditional manned by security or patrolled by police.  This in turn can reduce the amount of needed police officers. 

It is important that the public see the police and have positive interactions with them.  They must see the police serving the public.  When this occurs, the public is much more apt to pay the bill that is required.  The interaction with the public is at the core of community policing (Swanson, Territo, & Taylor, 2012).  When considering the impact of technology being used to replace police officers, the community interaction with police officers becomes a more limited aspect.  Services and contacts would be more limited and may have an opposing affect to the goals of community-policing.


Boehnke, M. (2010, January 14). Tempe Considers Laying Off Police Officers to Cut Costs. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/01/14/20100114tr-pdbudget0120.html

Megerian, C. (2010, September 19). N.J. Police Salaries Rank Highest in Nation with Median Pay of $90,672. NJ.com. Retrieved from http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_police_salaries_rank_highes.html

Mikesell, J. L. (2011). Fiscal Administration: Analysis and Applications for the Public Sector. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Swanson, C. R., Territo, L., & Taylor, R. W. (2012). Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behavior (Vol. 8th Edition). Upper Saddle, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Retrieved from http://online.vitalsource.com/books/9781256420507

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