Ithaca’s a growing city with around 30,000 people, and two universities.
The police department has 69 officers and Union President Eric Doane says it’s not enough.
“There are more college kids than ever, there are businesses, everything’s growing around here, but we are not allowed to grow to meet that need,” said Doane.
In the last five years Doane says the department has asked the city to approve the hire of more officers.
They want 20 more.
“The chiefs have made multiple presentations, the union has made multiple presentations, they are clearly aware of the problem,” explained Doane, “politicians make decisions not to fund police, public safety organizations, and when you do that we see a rise in crime.”
It’s a situation Mayor Svante Myrick sees differently.
“We have more police officers per resident than the average city in America,” said Myrick.
He says the city spends $11 million dollars on policing a year, adding-it’s an outrageous use of tax dollars to hire more officers.
“$93,000, with overtime, and the cost of their benefits is another $50,000. So if you hired 20 more police officers, you’re thinking 1.5 million times two that’s about three million dollars more,” explained Myrick.
“We have less crime than the average city our size, so I’m comfortable with the size of our police department,” said Myrick.
As for this budget season-it’s over and the city chose not to spend any more on policing.