Police Chief warns cuts would be ‘apocalyptic’
In the battle to slash city spending, literature lost out to law and order yesterday as the library board voted to close 16 branches on Sundays and cancel the purchase of 14,000 items to help save $1.2 million this year.
Meanwhile, Chief Bill Blair was warning cuts demanded of the police force — which costs the city nearly five times as much as libraries — were “quite frankly not attainable” and would lead to “apocalyptic scenarios” on city streets.
The only way to unearth the requested minimum of $10 million in savings would be to reduce staff, which Blair, at an emergency police services board meeting, said he was not prepared to do.
“I’m not going to threaten any compromise to public safety. It does not require a great deal of speculation what the impacts would be.
“The only way to save the substantial amount of monies that were mentioned this morning is to have fewer police officers on the street, and I think there would be very significant public safety impacts,” Blair said, adding more than 90 per cent of the force’s budget goes to staff salaries and benefits.
Sunday library closings