KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Knoxville Police went to the city asking for enough cash for 40 new cops. A few hours ago, the mayor gave her answer.
Mayor Rogero's budget totals more 183 million dollars. While there's not enough money for 40 more officers, it does offer some public safety initiatives. For people worried about crime and their safety, that's a big concern.
Alicia Banks says, "As a parent, you wonder is my kid safe? Am I safe? It's a lot of crime lately going on."
Alicia Banks hoped more police officers could help keep her 18-month old daughter safe. However, the city can't afford that. Mayor Madeline Rogero says, "That's a 4 million dollar operating expense. We just don't have the funds for that."
Chief David Rausch knew he might not get the 40 officers he asked for. Chief Rausch says, "I knew it was a huge request. It was a large expenditure. We can do a heck of a lot more with officers with that money, but as I continue to say, we continue to do great things with what we have."
KPD will be getting a few new officers. Mayor Rogero approved a police academy where about 20 officers will train to fill the vacant positions, left empty through attrition.
Plus, she approved money for a new administrative building and classrooms at the training facility.
She also gave employees a 2 and half percent raise. Chief Rausch says, "We feel like we've won great news from mayor."
Chief Rausch tells me since the department is understaffed, there are overtime costs and police officers are overworked. Chief Rausch says, "If they're working overtime, then there's a fatigue factor comes into play."
Alicia Banks wishes there could be more new officers, but even a few more on the streets next year is good news. Alicia Banks says, "Maybe those who want to commit crimes will think twice before doing it."
Not the news KPD wanted to hear, but they will be at full staff again with 416 officers, get new training facilities and, like all city employees, a pay raise.
There were several other big capital improvement projects presented in the mayor's budget proposal like 15 million for a new public works complex, 5 point 2 million to demolish lakeshore mental hospital buildings, 10 million dollars for Knoxville Zoo improvements. And a big one here, 1 point 2 million to fix the flooding problems associated with Prosser Road.