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Protect and Serve With Less

October 22nd, 2009 by flanews

Police departments and Sheriffs offices throughout the state are slimming their ranks to make due with less money. The remaining officers are sharpening their skills to fight crime with a smaller force. As Whitney Ray tells us, officers say training maybe more important now than ever.

From behind the wheel, or on foot, Floridas law enforcement officers have to be ready for the unexpected. But fighting crime is getting harder for dozens of law enforcement agencies being forced to cut staff to save money. Floridas Highway Patrol alone has lost 157 positions. Gulf Stream Policeman Chris Hamori says officers are doing more with less.

If you have an officer who can do two or three or maybe four different tasks, it can solve a lot of those problems, but you have to train those people to know how to do those tasks, said Hamori.

Nearly 400 officers are receiving advanced training at the Florida Public Safety Institute. The officers will use what they learn to teach training courses back home. Training Center Director Jim Murdaugh said its time for officers to sharpen their skills.

When you have fewer officers, then you need to ensure that the skills those officers have are absolutely at the highest level you can possible have them, said Murdaugh.

Which means, when budgets are cut, the least experienced officers are normally the first to go. It cost about 50,000 dollars and takes a full year to train a new recruit. Thats time and money lost when budget cuts force layoffs.

Next years budgets are expected to be just as lean, likely forcing more cuts and making training all that more important. Training needs have also changed over the past 10 years. Many agencies now have squads specializing in cyber crime, child abductions, and intelligence gathering. Many police departments and sheriffs offices have had to cut down on the specialized work to put more patrolmen on the streets.

Posted in Criminal Justice, State Budget, State News | 1 Comment »

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