The Fort Smith Police Association is protesting proposed city budget cuts to the department, saying this is the fourth year in a row they have had their budget slashed.
“We need the officers. We need the manpower out on the streets to answer the calls, but along with that, we are going to need vehicles,” said Michael McCoy, president of the Fort Smith Municipal Police Association.
Police administrators were told to cut more than $1.5 million from their budget, and with these reductions, eight officers will have to be released from the job in 2014. In 2012, four were cut.
“We were able to purchase some vehicles this year. If we don’t purchase them this year coming up, it’s going to be a couple more years, and we are running on vehicles that have over 100,00 miles,” McCoy said.
City administrator Jeff Dingham said the cuts are a matter of math, and there is no viable alternative.
“We don’t have enough funding,” he said. “I will agree with that, but the fact of it is we don’t have it. And so we try to provide the best services that we can with the funding that we do have.”
The Fort Smith Police Association said the budget cuts will cause them to double up on officers in units to save on fuel costs.