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    Police Commissioner: Cutting budget means cutting cops

    By: Tom MacDonald

    Philadelphia public safety officials are saying proposed city budget cuts would cripple their departments. Mayor Nutter recently asked every department head to say how they might implement budget cuts of 10, 20 and 30 percent. WHYY’s Tom MacDonald was at a budget review hearing this afternoon, and reports that Mayor Nutter didn’t even want to hear the worst-case scenario.

    By: Tom MacDonald
    tmacdonald@whyy.org

    Philadelphia public safety officials are saying proposed city budget cuts would cripple their departments. Mayor Nutter recently asked every department head to say how they might implement budget cuts of 10, 20 and 30 percent. WHYY’s Tom MacDonald was at a budget review hearing this afternoon, and reports that Mayor Nutter didn’t even want to hear the worst-case scenario.

    [audio: reports20090219police.mp3]

    Transcript:

    Mayor Nutter stopped Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey before he could even say how a 30 percent budget cut would affect the police department. Ramsey says since almost 97 percent of his budget comes from salaries and benefits, even a 10 percent cut would force him to fire police officers.

    Ramsey: “A little more than 700 in actual layoffs, when you add attrition on top of that we attrit at a rate of about 224 a year you have to add that we would be 900 or so where we currently are total.”

    Ramsey says that a 10 percent cut would also ground the city’s helicopters and dissolve the traffic division.

    Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says a 10 percent cut would cost the fire department 163 positions, three engine companies, two ladder companies and three medic units, and demote some officers.

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