Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Biting the bullet

Early reports from last night's City Council Conference Marathon (gee, maybe they should have met last Tuesday and split the work load over two night!!!) indicate the following:

1. Trenton is faced with a $7 million budget short fall in fiscal 2009 (which begins July 1).

2. The E-Path presentation/resolution was pulled from the agenda by the Administration (why was it even being brought up again?)

3. Director Santiago and his crew defended their choice of a $200,000 plus investment in new guns for the department.

It shouldn't take more than a room temperature IQ to follow this logic: If we are looking at a $7 million deficit, we do not need to spend money on new guns (especially if we are being offered new guns for free from the current provider!).

It is that simple.

Realizing that we've been over this topic before in this blog, let's refresh every one's memory.

Checking around on-line for commentary and ratings on the two weapons in question, one from Glock and the other from Springfield Armory, the prevailing opinion is that they are comparable weapons. Preference for one over the other is personal choice.

Casual discussion with a few Trenton police officers of our acquaintance has demonstrated no urgent need or mad desire to switch guns. Upgrade, yes (if for free). Switch, no.

Questions that we would like to have answered:

Does the proposed expenditure include the cost of new holsters, etc.?
Are there people on-staff in the TPD trained to service and repair the Springfield guns?

As for arguments that have been made about the Springfields being safer: have there been any incidents of accidentally discharged weapons due to a mechanical failure on the Glocks?

Are the Springfields better weapons for women and less experienced officers? I'm sorry but if the Glock is the standard issue weapon of the force and you have trouble using it, then you are not qualified to be on the force are you?

While this topic will no doubt be fodder for forum posters and bloggers for awhile, let us put a suggestion on the table for consideration.

Accepting the Administration's calculation of a $7 million dollar shortfall in next year's budget, it is obvious that Trenton needs to severely cut expenses. Since, as Chief of Staff Renee Haynes is reported to have put it, "everything is on the table," let's start trimming the obvious fat and waste by not asking for ridiculous expenditures.

Let's withdraw the proposal to purchase new guns from Springfield Armory and take the offer of free upgrades from Glock (this presumes that the stated offer of upgrading the department's guns for free is legit and meets all of the appropriate regulations and guidelines governing such matters). Why spend money we don't have for a change that isn't needed?

Further, let's immediately draw up and put into place a realistic automobile use policy that restricts take home cars and such as much as possible. Let's face it, there are a lot of vehicles being used for little more than commuting to and from work that are costing us, the taxpayers, a lot of money. Those employees who might complain should consider this: they can give up/severely cut back on the use of their city vehicle or they can face possible layoffs or worse.

Let's settle the Police (and any other outstanding contracts) thereby mitigating further increases in the size of retroactive pay increases already incurred.

And, here's one more money saving suggestion for the Administration: no more "free" legal representation for Mr. Santiago or Mr. Palmer in the residency case. The taxpayers do not owe them a defense for their beliefs and actions. They broke the law, they should pay for their own lawyers.

Let's see how quick they are to spend their own dollars on these follies!

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