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Cops and Prisons Face Budget Ax

December 17th, 2008 by flanews

Law enforcement officers are telling state lawmakers that more budget cuts could jeopardize public safety. The legislature is in Tallahassee today discussing ways to reduce criminal justice spending. As Whitney Ray tells us, more cuts could cause the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to close 14 offices and drop some drug investigations.

Hear it Here: FDLE and DOC Face the Budget Ax

Law enforcement budgets are on the chopping block and the heads of criminal justice departments are pleading with state senators for protection from the budget ax.

Department heads are calling for an end to across the board cuts, saying if criminal justice budgets are reduced at the same rate as other departments, safety will be jeopardized.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has plans to close 14 field offices, stop some drug investigations, and end the missing persons program, if its forced to cut its budget by 10 percent.

If that whole 10 percent list is implemented, you will see a different FDLE, we will not be the same agency, said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.

More cuts to the Department of Corrections could cause the state to house inmates in tents.

Weve got tents at three or four of our institutions that are assembled and constructed. Fortunately we havent been placed in a position that we have actually had to place inmates in those tents, but that are available for use if necessary, said Richard Davison, the Deputy Secretary of DOC.

Lawmakers may have to adopt new sources of revenue to save criminal justice programs, but for now they are looking at cutting the departments to the bone, hoping they dont risk public safety in the process.

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