Hyattsville Police Department facing budget cuts - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Hyattsville Police Department facing budget cuts

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Police spending in Hyattsville will have to be cut by $420,000 in the latest budget proposal now on the table.

That's not sitting too well with a lot of residents, especially those who enjoy the safety and high police visibility in the Arts District.

"My family and I generally come down here to eat on Saturdays, and to see the police cars out, especially late at night is comforting," Lynne Cort says.

That visibility could be jeopardized by the Mayor's latest budget proposal. At least three police vacancies will go unfilled-- one from the investigative action team, the patrol unit, and community action team.

"We're just having to make do with less, and that's a big concern, “Ward 4 Councilwoman Paula Perry says.

And it couldn't come at a worse time.

Every major category of crime, except rape and assault dropped in Hyattsville in 2012 compared to 2011.

Jenny Wesberry, whose family just moved to Hyattsville in January, says now is not the time to cut the police department.

"It's a little concerning. It's the summer. There are kids out. There's just more activity,"Wesberry says.

But a million dollar revenue loss, mainly from property taxes, means old police cars won't be replaced, police department hiring will be frozen, and overtime and training could also be impacted.

Councilwoman Perry doesn't think there's much they can do about the cuts any time soon.

"Not until next year. We already voted to keep our tax rate the same, “Perry says.

Lynne Cort hopes safety remains high until then, so she can continue to enjoy this Hyattsville hotspot.

"Safety is first, because if you don't feel safe shopping, you'll go where there's an increased police presence,"Cort says.

Police Chief Douglas Holland will spell out his plan to deal with the cuts at the City Council hearing Monday. His goal is to reorganize the department to keep as many officers on patrol as possible.

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