Budget cuts in Sioux City could cut back police force - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Budget cuts in Sioux City could cut back police force

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - As Sioux City's City Council pours over the city's operational budget, several areas are facing cuts.

But one cut may affect the police coverage in city limits in a year with rising crime rates.

Sioux City's police force has been working hard this year, dealing with a fluctuation in the crime rate. But all that hard work could get a little more difficult with some proposed budget cuts.

First on the list: the possibility of eliminating at least one officer from the staff.

"Everything for me is on the table right now, and that's why I don't want to personally propose anything until we go through this process, see where we're at, listen to the department heads," Mayor Bob Scott, Sioux City said.

Another option: dividing Sioux City into four sectors, instead of nine districts. That could mean increased response times to emergency calls, but police say their priority will still be the safety of the citizens.

"We'll do whatever we can with the least impact on this community as possible," Chief Doug Young, SCPD said.

The police department's project list is so lengthy that they say staff cuts were one of the only logical options.

"We'll still maintain our commitment to this community. We'll figure out what we can do to make sure people are safe. But as you eliminate people, there are costs to change like that," Young said.

One such project the department is working on is their building renovation.

That money comes out of a different budget, the Capital Improvement Budget.

Police Chief Doug Young says the renovation is not out of a desire for comfort, but necessity for a safe work place.

"This is the bare bones stuff to prevent future problems with the building. If it isn't taken care of, ultimately, we will be building a new building," Young said.

As the renovation gets under way, the city is having to find other areas to cut back in their daily budget, because the police department's renovation is "not an option."

"The problem when you get to deferred maintenance and you haven't done anything is, it  becomes a process where either you do something, or you wait so long that you're rebuilding, and we're almost to the point where we're rebuilding basically anyway," Scott said.

Whether or not that will mean a cut to the staff is yet to be determined.

The final cuts for the Sioux City's 137 million dollar operational budget will be decided at the end of March.

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