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Four Crestview police officer positions proposed budget cuts
CRESTVIEW -- The jobs of four police officers are at risk as leaders in one area city struggle with a new budget proposal.
In 2010, the city of Crestview got a grant from the Department of Justice. It paid for four additional officers, in these cruisers and on the streets.
The grant covered a three-year time period, which is about to expire.
It will cost the city almost 200,000 dollars a year to pay for the positions from now on.
John Cashman "Everybody has to stay within a budget. We have to stay in a budget, why shouldn't they have to stay in a budget. You can't have an open checkbook policy, I don't think"
John Cashman's feelings are reflected in one city council member's budget proposal, which eliminates the positions when the grant runs out.
Jane Ward "Oh I hate to hear that. I do hate to hear that"
Jane Ward dislikes that idea, and she isn't alone.
Police Chief Tony Taylor says he was blindsided by the proposal.
Chief Taylor "Doesn't make sense with our geography growing the way it it's growing, and the population growing the way it's growing, to be cutting our public safety services, you're putting the citizens at risk"
Taylor says losing the cops would be especially tough because five officers were cut last year.
Wendy Jenkins doesn't pretend to know the ins and outs of the budget, but thinks spending money on police protection is important.
Wendy Jenkins "I know that they deserve to be paid well. I mean we do expect them to risk their lives for us, right? To protect and serve"
Both the police chief and the mayor stress that budget negotiations are not final at this point. There will be two public hearings in September before that decision is made.