To the editor:
Lawrence needs more police to combat the drug trade, to keep our homes safe, to protect our businesses and to uphold the law.
That is why I am asking councilors to vote against the mayor’s budget. The mayor’s budget raises taxes $3,474,937 and does not pay for one new police officer with the new tax dollars.
The budget does have new positions in it, and I believe that if we are going to add employees to the budget we should add to the police force first. The fact that I do not have the faith in the mayor to hire the most qualified people is secondary to the larger need for public safety.
We need to get back to the 161 sworn police officers, and if that means doing it five or six at a time, so be it.
As one councilor who voted to cut the number of police when we could not afford it, I am taking responsibility to rebuild the force. Making this solely about the mayor’s hiring practices marginalizes the more important issue of public safety. This isn’t part of a political game; this is about having enough police to proactively fight crime and to respond to residents, either for noise complaints or a stolen car.
City councilor, Lawrence