Police Chief: Service will change in wake of budget cuts

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has known cuts were coming to her department for a while and following Monday night's 2010 budget proposal by Mayor Mary Verner, she has a better idea of just how many officers she'll have to do without.

As of Tuesday, the department will be forced to cut 22 positions, though that number could change as the City of Spokane is in ongoing negotiations with the Police Guild.

Lessening the blow to actual personnel is the fact that Kirkpatrick was preparing for the cuts by not filling 20 vacant positions within the department, bringing the total number of people that actually may lose their jobs to two.

While patrol and 911 will not be affected by the cuts, Kirkpatrick warned that Spokane residents will notice a change in services the police department provides.

"When I came in 2006 we were still rebounding from the 2004 cut and at the time... we were unable to get to people's property crimes because we have to make people crimes a priority over property crimes," said Kirkpatrick. "That's what we'll be returning to."

Mayor Verner's budget proposal and the projected cuts to the Spokane Police Department come at a time when car thefts are the highest they've been all year in Spokane.

KHQ will continue to follow the latest developments as the 2010 budget is finalized. Stay with KHQ.com for more information.

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