City leaders will meet tonight to discuss when and where budget cuts
might come from, but Burbank Police have already taken steps to
reduce their expenditures.
Police officials have frozen six open positions for sworn officers
of its 168 sworn officers, spokesman Sgt. Bruce Speirs said. Each
position is for an entry-level officer, he said. The move is a result
of a directive from the city for departments to look for ways to
reduce their budgets in anticipation of state budget shortfalls.
“For the police department, our biggest expenditure is personnel,”
he said. “The easiest thing to do was to hold back on a few
The openings came about through natural attrition, with no
officers being laid off, and Speirs said the vacancies are not
causing significant problems and the positions could quickly be
filled once the department gets the go-ahead from the city.
“This is not something that hinders us in the long-term,” he said.
In addition to freezing the positions, police are extending the
lifespan of vehicles by one year, with patrol cars being replaced
every three years instead of every two. While the vehicles are
well-maintained and will not pose additional safety risks as a result
of staying in service, Speirs said being driven 24 hours a day takes
“I’ve seen them two years old, with more than 100,000 miles on them,” he said.
While police officials do not know how much they will ultimately
be asked to trim from their budget, city officials have said some
departments might be asked to reduce by 10%.
The vacancies will save the department about $480,000, while
extending the fleet life will save an estimated $375,000, Speirs
said. That equals just more than 3% of the department’s $27-million
The current cutbacks also come at a time when police have raised
deployments in response to heightened concerns about possible
terrorist attacks. While police said placing restrictions on
officers’ ability to take time off has meant relatively little
overtime was needed to fill the additional deployments, Financial
Services Director Derek Hanway said the additional expense could
require more appropriations from the city.
While Police Chief Thomas Hoefel declined to comment on what
additional cuts might be made until after tonight’s meeting, Speirs
said contingency plans have been made.
“We’re attempting to provide the city with recommendations on
where to cut because we know our operations the best,” he said.