Police chief defends spending

March 16, 2009 4:20:12 PM PDT
Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan is usually on the offense - fighting crime in the capital city - but now he's defending spending in this tough economy.That after an Eyewitness News tipster raised concerns that the department has misused hundreds of thousands of dollars - starting with cosmetic paint and carpet upgrades for a building slated to be torn down this fall.

"I wouldn't do any of that any differently," Dolan offered. "I have a reputation of utilizing the funds provided to me, to get the men and woman that work for this police department tools that they need to do the job."

In 2008, the outgoing headquarters building was renovated to the tune of $125,58. More than $13,000 went for flat screen TVs, and thousands more was for office furniture, signs, carpet and fresh paint.

"As long as we are here, and as long as this is the Capital City police headquarters, it will look presentable. If that means we throw a coat of paint on a wall we will. If that means I have to go out and rake the yard, I'll do that," said Dolan.

The department also spent $2.1 million on equipment including $115,000 for computers and nearly $181,000 for new light bars on patrol cars. That was an upgrade our tipster said wasn't necessary, but Dolan disagrees.

"I think they were concerns of officers who didn't like that they had to have blue lights on their cars and didn't like being told some of the things they have to do," he said.

Last year, the Raleigh Police Department got $90 million of the city's $640 million budget. City Manager Russell Allen is in charge of Raleigh's budget.

"Public safety is a priority," he said.

Allen says every dime Raleigh PD spent last year was necessary, but he admits new economic challenges will likely change that.

"Decisions that are made in this budget, yes certainly might be made different in future budgets depending on the revenues that we have," he said.

That's a reality Chief Dolan knows and expects.

"As we move into the next fiscal year, we're going to see limits," he explained. "We're not going to be able to do things that we wanted to do, but that's understandable."


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