Alderman explains Raytown police budget cuts

RAYTOWN, Mo. — City leaders in Raytown voted to pass a $29.6 million dollar budget that includes $2.8 million in cuts to the police budget. Now, officers are figuring out what steps to take next.

Alderman Jim Aziere said education and public safety are the top priorities in Raytown, but that Raytown has other needs as well.

"I want to draw young families to Raytown," said Jim Aziere, who has been an alderman for the city of Raytown for 19 years.

Aziere said it came down to balancing the budget. He said public works is one place that could not take any more cuts.

"They are operating at bare bones. We won't be cleaning our streets in the winter time," said Aziere.

The chief of police has said with a budget of close to $5.8 million it will have to cut 30 positions.

Aziere said he hopes they will restructure.

"If you get rid of the upper brass you don't need, again we compared it to other departments," said Aziere.

For instance, on a public meeting Tuesday, the Raytown Police Department was compared to Grandview's. Both cities are within 5 square miles of each other in size and Raytown has just three more sworn officers than Grandiew. However, last year Raytown's budget was $3.2 million more.

One person living in Raytown who has been following the money is Tony Jacobs. He has experience bookkeeping and said he has rewritten the city's budget at least twice.

He said officers spoke at Tuesday's meeting about a new reality, one where they are constrained by a tighter budget.

"The said captains and majors are going to have to do patrol activities, which will take away from their current duties of running a department effectively," said Tony Jacobs.

41 Action News dug into how the budget has played into crime over the past few years. Since 2014 everything has stayed level, with a spike in 2016 where violent crimes peaked at 180. This year so far there have 110 of those types of crimes, according to data from the Highway Patrol.

The Raytown Police Department has declined to offer a reaction to this budget cut.

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