Mayor's Budget to Include Over $2 Million for Public Safety

Monday, October 2, 2006 - 7:19am

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said today that his 2007 executive operating budget will include significant new investments for a comprehensive approach to public safety issues. The mayor’s budget features investments in the Police Department to fight crime, and in community services programs to address the root causes of crime.

“Madison is fortunate to be a very safe community, but we are not immune from the disturbing national trend of increasing crime,” said Cieslewicz. “Public safety is the single most important service that local government can provide. That responsibility is not the police department’s alone, however. A comprehensive public safety strategy requires a much broader approach that invests not only in law enforcement but in community programs that help prevent crime.”

Despite the loss of federal resources such as the COPS program, which provided vital funding for the hiring of new police officers, the mayor has continued to support expanding our police force to better protect our growing community. In 2006 alone, the city hired eight additional officers and opened the East District Police Station.

“These are important investments in public safety to protect our community,” Police Chief Noble Wray said. “This budget sets the foundation for years to come.”

Key initiatives in the mayor’s 2007 budget proposal for the Police Department include:

- Adding 10 new officers to the police force, the most since 1995. This $500,000 investment fully funds the police department’s request for additional officers. The mayor’s budget also includes $190,000 to purchase and fully equip new squad cars for the officers.
- Upgrading seven police officers to Detectives, and one to Investigator, also fully funding that request from the department. This initiative will improve the department’s ability to investigate and solve crimes.
- Authorizing a new $60,000 staffing study to examine city growth trends, police staffing models and other factors to help the city and the department strategically plan for future growth.
- A $100,000 Downtown Safety Initiative to enhance policing in downtown Madison’s rapidly growing entertainment district. The police chief will work in consultation with downtown stakeholders to develop a plan for use of these additional funds.

All told, the mayor’s proposed Police Department budget provides for over $1,050,000 in new public safety investments. This in addition to a budget adjustment of approximately $573,000 for cost-to-continue increases such as interagency charges, salary increases and related fringe benefits that the mayor allowed the department to build into their 2007 base budget. Overall, the mayor’s Police Department budget proposes investing an additional $1.6 million in public safety needs, for a total proposed budget of nearly $49 million.

Recognizing that public safety is not just an issue for the Police Department, the mayor’s budget includes significant investments in community services programs focused on crime prevention. The programs funded through OCS and CDBG serve a variety of community needs, in particular crime prevention. Some of the programs that particularly focus on crime prevention that are receiving additional funding in the mayor’s budget include:

- $30,000 for the Vera Court Neighborhood Center’s “Life as a Boy” program, which provides positive role models and support for young men.
- $40,000 for the Wisconsin Youth Company on Madison’s southwest side to provide after-school programming and other services targeted at low-income families.
- A new $100,000 jobs initiative targeted at the Allied Drive neighborhood. This initiative will include two new programs: a $70,000 four-agency partnership led by the Urban League to prepare Allied resident for employment and connect them to training and job opportunities, and a $30,000 initiative from the Building Trades to help underrepresented populations enter training and apprenticeship programs.

The mayor’s budget also includes an additional $50,000 in childcare assistance and $70,000 for the Emerging Neighborhoods Fund. Overall, the mayor’s budget provides over $500,000 in increased investments community programs, for total investments of more than $2 million for programs to make our community stronger, prevent crime and enhance public safety.

All provisions of the mayor’s 2007 executive operating budget are subject to Common Council approval and will be formally introduced on Tuesday.

  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611