Cities’ Police Costs Exceed Aid for Schools

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Associated Press

City government spending on police protection has surpassed spending on education for the first time, and municipalities are paying a larger share of their expenses, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.

The nation’s cities spent $10.7 billion on police protection in 1982, up 8.5% from the year before, the bureau said. Spending on education slipped to second place with a total of $9.8 billion, down 3.1% from the year before.

In 1960, police costs ranked fourth among city general expenses, trailing spending for education, highways and sewers and sanitation. Police expenses remained fourth in 1965 but climbed into second in 1970.


Small Percentage Nationwide, however, cities finance only a relatively small percentage of education programs, with most school systems operated by counties or independent districts, Vance Kane of the Census Bureau’s Governments Division said.

Cities now raise nearly three-fourths of the money they spend, the highest proportion since 1970.

“There has been a general decline in federal government aid” to cities, Kane said.