It seems like an eternity ago, but back in June, when the City Council waded through millions in funding cuts to balance an $808-million city budget, we took the police union to task for refusing to budge on scheduled pay increases that could have prevented the pink slips that went out last week to three sworn officers.
With the termination notices out, that untenable reality appears to be materializing. Already, some residents are starting to protest what is sure to be the first of many pinches of budget-cutting reality that is sure to hit this city as the spending cuts that were approved in June take hold.
Police Department officials have said they hope to find other positions within the agency to reassign the officers, with the intent of putting them back into the rank-and-file once Glendale’s fiscal situation improves.
But that’s assuming these three relatively new officers will wait indefinitely for that to happen.
Meanwhile, a city that already has a relatively weak officer-per-resident ratio stands to suffer the consequences of the decision made by the Glendale Police Officers’ Assn. earlier this year to make no concessions on their planned pay raises.
The warning of three possible layoffs was issued during the budget talks in June, but like many budget-related warnings, they tend to come across as empty threats. But as had been repeated back then, this time was different.
There’s a small amount of solace associated with hoping that these three officers, on whom the Police Department spends hundreds of thousands of dollars training and outfitting, might get reassigned to civilian-type duties, especially when Los Angeles continues to press ahead with its own police hiring binge.
This is just the latest example of the police union leadership’s out-of-touch handling of the fiscal realities all cities now find themselves in. Even if they do reassign the officers, it doesn’t take away from the fact that there will be three fewer cops out there patrolling our streets.
The result is no longer nebulous; it’s here and it’s too bad.