New Long Beach Budget Would Cut Police Force

Long Beach officials on Wednesday unveiled a $1.6-billion budget for 1991-92 that calls for $24 million in cuts, including reducing the city's police force for the first time in recent memory.

City Manager James C. Hankla said the cuts, which he said would bring the city to an "unacceptable level" of services, can only be avoided with an increase in the city utility tax and other fees by this summer.

Without new taxes, 12 police officers and 20 fire officials would be laid off and dozens more members of the police and fire staff would be lost to attrition under a continued city hiring freeze, Hankla said. The police layoffs would come at a time when crime is increasing at record levels. The Police Department has been widely criticized for having one of the lowest crime-solving rates in the state.

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