Police Patrols May Get A Lot Pricier

Dallas considers raising cost of its neighborhood patrol programs

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Monday, May 24, 2010  |  Updated 11:16 PM CDT
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Budget Crunch Could Squeeze Dallas Patrol Programs

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Dallas' budget crisis could make neighborhood patrol programs more expensive.

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Budget Crunch Could Squeeze Dallas Patrol Programs

Dallas' budget crisis could make neighborhood patrol programs more expensive.
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Dallas' city budget crisis may affect the number of police officers patrolling the city's neighborhoods.

The city is considering raising the cost of its neighborhood patrol programs in addition to proposals to cut officers' salaries and impose furlough days.

Lakewood in East Dallas is one of 75 neighborhoods in the city that currently pay for added police protection. Homeowners currently pay about $150 a year to have off-duty officers patrol their streets.

But Alex Winslow, president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Association, said he thinks the cost stands to double in the city's financial crisis.

“I realize the city has budget issues, but I encourage the city manager to keep the rates of the officers somewhat reasonable,” he said.

The city has proposed raising squad car rentals from $6.95 to $12.95 an hour, along with adding a $5 hourly fuel surcharge. The price hike is estimated to bring in more than $600,000 in revenue for the city.

Dallas is anticipating a $131 million budget shortfall in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

”That’s not really that much for a $131 million shortfall -- $600,000, that's just not going to cut it,” said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association.

He called the proposed rate hike counterproductive.

“I would venture to say a lot of neighborhood homeowner associations (are) going to drop the program,” White said.

Lakewood is among those considering it.

”As a neighborhood association, we will seriously consider other alternatives, such as security cameras and volunteer patrols,” Winslow said. “This could have the unintended effect of pricing itself out.”

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