RealNews

Cities Hike Security Funds, Lose Cops to Reserves

Cities and towns across the United States are spending more on homeland security, even as their police officers are being called up as reservists, the National League of Cities said in a poll released on Friday. By mid-February, about 150,000 reservists had been called to active duty, according to the Defense Department. But the league said as many as 265,000 guardsmen and reservists could be mobilized. Local fire departments have also lost personnel as the military’s ranks have swelled. Some 21 percent of the cities and towns in the survey, which was based on information provided by 461 municipalities, said some of their firefighters had been called to active duty. “The reserve and guard call-ups come on top of fiscal problems in many states and localities as well as heightened responsibilities for homeland security,” John DeStefano, New Haven, Connecticut’s mayor, said in a statement. A separate survey, also released by the league on Friday, showed that three out of four of 145 cities responding cited a trend toward fee increases as one result of deeper financial problems. Some 63 percent of the localities polled said they were raising fees or creating new ones, but only 42 percent took this step in 2001, according to the Washington-based league, which says its 18,000 member cities and towns speak for 225 million Americans. Full Story

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