Budget-making processes are critical in maintaining the operations of businesses and organizations. Therefore, adequate planning should be done to ensure personnel and necessary resources are availed. In criminal justice systems, budgets are designed to match specific departments’ current and future financial needs (Budget Preparation Debate).
I debate various issues pertinent to police and civilian involvement in budget-making processes: should police departments train sworn police officers to complete financial reports and prepare budgets or higher civilian personnel for these tasks? Do civilians have enough knowledge of policing to properly prepare good budgets addressing policing needs? Can sworn officers fulfill this task without proper degrees/education?
Reducing on Costs
Police departments should train police officers to complete financial reports and prepare budgets. It is cheaper to train and educate already employed officers than hire civilians as external hiring will require budget adjustments for new salaries. Having police officers trained on budget provisions saves on operational efficiency (Budget Preparation Debate).
Strategic Planning (Budget Preparation Debate)
Police departments should hire internally as police officers will tackle pertinent issues by addressing them in budgets. Civilians have little or no understanding of problems that affect police operations and officers themselves. Therefore, sworn officers can do better than civilians highlighting the plight of criminal justice systems and improving operational efficiency (Budget Preparation Debate).
Enhancing Operational Efficiency
As opposed to external hiring of civilians, more police officers can be hired, subsequently increasing operational efficiency. In such cases, some police officers will be on regular patrol while others deal with budgetary issues. As a result, there will be reduced crimes as significant issues affecting sworn police officers and their needs will be adequately addressed (Budget Preparation Debate).
Increased funding Acquisition
There always arises the issue of who knows more about what in police departments. For example, sworn police officers know more about their issues in terms of resource availability and capabilities despite not holding degrees (Davidson, 2018). In contrast, civilians are conversant in budget preparation and drafting. Therefore, officers will have an easy time collecting relevant information to complete financial reports and prepare budgets compared to civilians. As a result, it will be easy to source financial resources to address specific issues and complete tasks without the police having formal degrees (Budget Preparation Debate).
Most people have different perceptions about the police. Some contend that the police have lost touch with communities, while others contemplate that police departments should integrate community members into criminal justice systems (Su, 2017). I believe that civilians have enough knowledge of policing to prepare good budgets addressing policing needs properly (Budget Preparation Debate).
Although external hiring is costly, it is still a viable option compared to internal hiring. Hiring civilians with extensive financial backgrounds would mean police departments will maximize cost reduction as they are well-trained and equipped to identify and address contentious issues. Also, police departments will not have to worry about providing benefits as employers will be responsible(Budget Preparation Debate).
Police departments should strategically plan police operations. For police officers to focus on their roles, civilians should be hired to research and craft budgets, hence avoiding conflicting roles (Lane, 2021). The police are responsible for providing and maintaining law and order. Therefore, officers’ roles and civilian roles should be differentiated to prevent conflicts and dual roles (Budget Preparation Debate).
Reduction in Work Productivity
Before civilians prepare budgets, they are supposed to research and craft drafts that adequately address policing issues. Therefore, I believe that research equips civilians with knowledge on issues relating to police officers and departments such that hiring them is more beneficial than hiring many officers for the same task. Police can focus on maintaining law and order while civilians prepare budgetst.
Although sworn police officers know their divisions exclusively, civilians perform exceptionally well in areas of expertise because of their rich financial backgrounds and degrees. Even though it may take longer for civilians to complete financial reports and prepare budgets, police departments become flexible in scheduling activities across different timelines (Coe, & Wiesel, 2001). Adequate funding is acquired based on areas of concern, and at the same time, departments exhibit flexibility to cut costs.
Improving Relations with Society
Police departments rely on the public for information and financial resources. Nevertheless, this does not mean civilians understand every police entity and policing issue. For this reason, sworn-in police officers are tasked with completing financial reports and budget preparation initiatives and not civilians. Civilians will have to blend in police departments to understand the dynamics of criminal justice systems fully (LaFrance, & Placide, 2010) (Budget Preparation Debate).
Coe, C. K., & Wiesel, D. L. (2001). Police budgeting: Winning strategies. Public Administration Review, 61(6), 718-727.
Davidson, M. (2018). Participatory budgeting, austerity, and institutions of democracy: The case of Vallejo, California. City, 22(4), 551-567.
LaFrance, T. C., & Placide, M. (2010). Sheriffs’ and police chiefs’ leadership and management decisions in the local law enforcement budgetary process: an exploration. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 12(2), 238-255.
Lane, D. J. (2021). Power Law Distributions, Municipal Budgeting, and the Police: A Practical Guide. Municipal Budgeting, and the Police: A Practical Guide (February 21, 2021).
Su, C. (2017). Beyond inclusion: Critical race theory and participatory budgeting. New Political Science, 39(1), 126-142.