Just like you, Metro is doing more with less

More money in 2013 would mean more of these on the streets.
Photo: Steve Marcus

It seems everyone is doing more with less these days. Maybe you see it in a longer wait for your morning coffee or in fewer cashiers at the grocery store. One place you don’t want to see it is in your local police force. But Metro is no different than anyone else, says spokesman Officer Marcus Martin. “Where in society these days is someone not asked to do more with less?"

Still, Sheriff Doug Gillespie is hoping to do more with more in 2013. He’s asking to increase Metro’s budget—from $515 million in 2012 to $525 million in 2013—money that could go to police cars and computers, to workers’ compensation and liability contributions, and to filling the 170 positions currently left open. That the force is short cops sounds scary—Gillespie told KNPR last week that Metro has already reduced substation hours and closed one substation, as well as eliminating 238 police officer positions in the last few years—but Martin insists the department is picking up the slack.

So while a fully staffed police department is clearly better—Metro currently has 1.8 officers per thousand residents; the ideal is 2.0 per thousand—it seems Metro really is like everyone else these days: forced to do more with less, then stuck understaffed when it succeeds at doing just that.

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