By now you are aware of the proposed cuts to the Millville Police Department in order to save a few tax dollars. In my opinion, these cuts are short-sighted, and the numbers being thrown around do not reflect reality.
There is a so-called watchdog organization in the city that is wholeheartedly supporting a reduction in our police department. The call to fire police officers have been made by Porreca and Tesoroni on some online forums, as they throw out bogus numbers and misinformation. It should be noted that none of the principles of this group live in or even near the high crime areas in Millville.
It is also interesting to note that the former judge argued on behalf of bringing housing projects (Delsea Gardens for one) into Millville even though we didn't have a need for them at the time. He said this would be good for Millville. It is easy to trace the root cause of our problems today to this call in bad judgment in the 1970's.
They want a reduction in police so that they can save a few dollars, even though the judge gets a massive tax abatement annually to the tune of $42,000.
They argue that Millville has not grown in area, and so we do not need more officers than we had in the 1980's (we are dropping below that level of law enforcement support quickly). As usual, they use numbers to confuse. Of course the city did not expand in area - that argument is insipid. However, the city has grown in population significantly. They blandly ignore this fact.
Here are the real numbers surrounding the MPD - the city is supposed to have 83 cops. There are three vacant positions.that leaves us at 80.
There is a retirement looming, and that position will not be filled - 79.
Four more retirements this year that will not be filled - 75.
Eight to be laid off - 67 by the end of 2010.
There are 11 sergeants, 4 lieutenants, 1 captain and 1 chief. That leaves us with 50 officers to cover the 44 square miles of the City of Millville 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
That 50 includes the uniform guys, detectives, narcotics, what have you - not just patrol officers. Did you know the Traffic Safety position has been eliminated? There are no school officers. The Narcotics Division consists of one narcotics officer and his sergeant.
To add insult to injury, it appears eminent that the UEZ funds are being yanked. That UEZ money pays the salaries of four officers. So that 67 now diminished to a police force of 63. For a group that claims to be placing Millville first, they are putting public safety last.