Chief McClelland presented his budget to the mayor this week. It would cut 181 police officers and 445 civilians.
“Do I believe that that’s going to happen? I don’t know. Do I believe that I’m gonna get some additional funding for HPD? I think I am, but the numbers that I just quoted to you are worst case scenario. Best case scenario, I get additional funding and resources that I don’t have to lay anyone off, that it’s a non-issue.”
McClelland says it is the most difficult budget year for the police department and the city. But like all city department heads, he had to submit a plan to help erase a 39-million dollar police department deficit.
“I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you exactly what would happen, going forward. I would just know this, that if I invoke that particular plan today, if I had to implement that, I would have less police officers that are doing core services.”
Mayor Annise Parker: “I’ve received memos from Chief McClelland regularly, as we have worked through the budget, and each one of those memos has said you know, this kind of a budget cut will probably result in this many layoffs.”
Houston Mayor Annise Parker says since public safety is the number one city service, she will do all she can to not lay off police officers or firefighters.
“We have not laid off a single police officer or firefighter as we’ve cut more than 200-million dollars in spending over the last year. I still have to get to somewhere close to another hundred million dollars in savings.”
She admits to making some extremely difficult, if not brutal decisions in reducing that shortfall.
“I’ve steadily reduced that budget target, so I’m not gonna speculate on whether people will be laid off or not. When the budget comes out, you’ll know. I do know that there will be people laid off across the city. Probably hundreds of city employees laid off, but my intention is not to lay off police officers or fire fighters, if there’s any way to avoid that.”
Mayor Parker presents her final budget to council next month.