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TPD Chief seeks budget cutting ideas

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 20:27:46-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson's new police chief is looking for ideas on how to balance his department's budget.
 
The Police are the city's biggest department, so cutting costs there will help the city balance an overall budget projected to be more than 40 million dollars in the hole---even with moves city council made to cut costs.
        
TPD has more than nine hundred officers, hundreds of vehicles and a budget of almost 170 million dollars.
         
In a video message to officers, new Police Chief Christopher Magnus explained the city-wide budget hole, and how because TPD is the biggest department it will have to change to help balance the budget.
 
In the video he says, “And it will almost certainly mean that we re-assess the overall size of our agency.  What is our overall authorized strength?  I can pretty much guarantee you that that is going to change."
      
Reaching authorized strength means a TPD with every slot filled. That's 1002 officers and 317 civilian jobs. Right now TPD only has about 940 officers and 277 civilian workers.
       
Chief Magnus office wants it clear he's only talking about ideas, not done deals.
       
Other ideas include moving officers from more specialized duties to put more police on patrol. 
       
Ward Six Councilmember Steve Kozachik says that returns officers to the heart of police work, and saves the five percent incentive pay that goes to the specialized jobs.
 
He says, "Get him out from behind the desk, get commissioned officers out from behind desks and into the cars where they're touching the public."
        
Todd Griffith, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police says some officers are uneasy about the chance of some changes, others like the idea of more strength on patrol.
 
"But you also have to understand that for these other assignments, away from patrol, they also serve a very vital service to the service we provide as a police department, be it investigative, be it computer technology, be it evidence technology, be it any number of things."
         
And Chief Magnus urged officers to not be alarmed at the prospect of change and bring him any ideas they have for the best way to do it.