The Budget Cycle
Examine the pros and cons of a law enforcement administration budgeting process of your choice. How is the budgeting cycle used? Are jobs outsourced? Is outside funding utilized? Does the budget align with the goals of the community in regard to fighting crime and quality of life issues?
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About November of each year, the Chief of Police, the Department Head, begins planning the budget for the next year. A review is completed of the previous year and a tentative plan for projects for the upcoming year is generated through meetings with the Administrator. The budget plan is then presented to the City Mayor in an executive meeting with other department heads. This is the executive function that can veto certain aspects of the budget in its entirety or require additional resources before finalization (Mikesell, 2011). The total budget of the city is considered and cuts are made. A revisions plan is established, arguments for particular funding is made and then a final revised budget is presented to the City Council. This budget plan, if approved, is presented in a public forum and voted on by City Council, including the Mayor. The use of outside funding is not a generally considered practice as no stable form has been established for long-term projects.
No strategic plan (Gaines & Worrall, 2012) has been established for the direction of the department for many years. About 10 years ago, the plan for the local law enforcement was drug enforcement and community policing. The direction now taken is a problem-oriented policing plan. Drugs enforcement is still a major concern, but attrition has depleted the resources for our department to assign one group or person to this only concern. The public has generated an outcry for this enforcement as heroin and methamphetamine is seen as a major concern. The current plan is to incorporate two additional detective positions that require full-time drug enforcement. There will still be a supervisor and one detective in the investigations bureau.
The Lamar Police Department budgeting process begins in January of each year and runs through the entire year. Reports are completed monthly and in a four month cycle to show the percentages of the budget used. The line-items are shown to show which part of the department’s budgeting has been spent in accordance with the amount of year used. The line-item system is used to procure the everyday essentials of the individual departments. A capital outlay system is used to procure large purchases of needed equipment, such as police vehicles and other vehicles and equipment. The biggest concern is that the budget is balanced and over-spending is reduced and explained (Mikesell, 2011).
Outside funding is used in the form of grants as application is made with pending approval and no guarantees. The way to combat this uncertainty is to generate a program or plan that will be grant funded for several years. The requires a well-devised plan with much support for long-term funding. Particularly Colorado JAG grants and other state funding that is appropriated through the federal government and then administered by state programs. An animal control grant fund is utilized for medical treatment of animals that have become the property of the city. Another grant program provides funding for bullet-proof vests to our officers through a mandatory wear policy that has been shown to reduce in the line-of-duty deaths throughout the years. The state JAG grant is administered by the City of Lamar, but is beneficial to many agencies in the area.
The City of Lamar’s budget requires the use of an A-133 auditing system is used to provide documentation to the citizens and administration that the budget is being used appropriately. This is completed by an outside company to reduce any appearance of impropriety.
Gaines, L. K., & Worrall, J. L. (2012). Police Administration (3 ed.). (L. Main, Ed.) Clifton Park, New York: Delmar Cengage Learning.
Mikesell, J. L. (2011). Fiscal Administration: Analysis and Applications for the Public Sector. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.