Reporting Mireya Villarreal
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Hundreds of Fort Worth residents say they don’t support cutting millions of dollars from the police department’s budget. That’s according to a survey paid for by the Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association. In an effort to prevent personnel cuts, the union is getting vocal about city hall once again.
The Fort Worth Police Officers Association paid nearly $25,000 to conduct this survey. The goal was to prove how much people living here value the police department. 506 residents responded to the survey saying, in part, jobs, the economy, crime and public safety are at the top of their priority list.
Ellie Fowler is the Director of Concordia Preschool Academy on the city’s far north side. It’s a part of town that’s boomed with businesses and new homes. However, police protection hasn’t been able to keep up. That’s why fowler was surprised to hear the city is thinking about cutting the police department’s budget by up to $20 million.
“I don’t see where that logic is,” Fowler told us. “I think when there is more people around you need to have that assurance also that there is going to be protection provided as well.”
Steve Hall, President of the Fort Worth Police Officer’s Association, says Fowler is not alone. Today, with officers standing behind him, he announced the results of a voter survey that focused on the possibility of cutting the police department’s budget.
“If you’re a citizen of Fort Worth and are a victim of a crime in Fort Worth, I don’t think you’ll think this is out of proportion at all. I think you’ll think it’s a very important matter to you,” Hall explained.
76% of the people surveyed said they oppose cutting the department’s budget. That breaks down to about 384 people. Survey-takers also answered they are worried crime and theft will increase if the department’s budget is cut.
Hall says cuts won’t just affect the police department, it could affect people like Ellie Fowler, living and working on the north side.
“I think for the foreseeable future, the hope that they will see their sixth division and an increased presence on the north side, I think it pretty much diminished,” Hall added.
We reached out to city hall representatives and Mayor Price’s office. No one would speak with us on camera. But Mayor Betsy Price did send us this statement:
“It’s unfortunate that the POA continues to mislead the public, and this recent push poll is just another example. Nobody I know is talking about cutting $20 million from the Police Department’s budget. In fact, as many city departments have faced significant cuts, the Police Department’s budget continues to increase. Fortunately, the citizens of Fort Worth understand public safety has been and will remain a priority.”
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