Our reporter Lewis Kamb is watching the presentation by Tacoma department heads about the effects of proposed budget cuts. One of those is Police Chief Don Ramsdell who was reacting to the list of staff layoffs.
Interim city manager Rey Arellano first told the council that 52 patrol officers would be lost and 56 total police cuts. Most cuts would be based on seniority.
“We know that public safety is a priority, but it’s impossible not to address the gap without their participation,” Arellano said.
Ramsdell said he will have to move folks around from special assignments like the gang unit, school resource officers, community liaisons and a full traffic squad to basic patrol shifts. The chief told the council the city will shift its emphasis from proactive to reactive _ that is, rather that work on crime prevention and reduction officers will respond to calls for assistance once crimes have been committed. Even with that, Ramsdell predicted that response times will fall as well.
“We’ll have less officers on the street, less visible police presence in our community,” Ramsdell said.
“There’s a risk to our officers’ safety, which is critical.”