Budget slashes half of State Capitol Police


At the most basic level, the cuts mean a drastic reduction in services for the history museum, the science museum and the State Capitol. The Capitol Police are responsible for those buildings.

Republicans say the cuts are okay because Raleigh police will pick up the slack. However, some say that's passing the buck and Raleigh leaders aren't happy about it.

Chief Scott Hunter of the State Capitol Police says cuts will include police officers, police telecommunicators, support and security guards.

The Chief says he gave 37 employees 30 days notice that if the budget goes through, they will be out of a job in July. Twenty-five are sworn officers and Hunter says that will mean the end of 24-7 coverage.

"We may have to provide service on a standard business schedule of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Scott said.

Republican leaders in the Legislature defend the decision and talk about reducing redundancies between State Capitol Police and Raleigh police.

"There's a lot of duplication between what the Capitol Police are doing and what the Raleigh police do," said Republican Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore.

Hunter says the shift in service will "become a non-funded mandate for the city to provide."

That does not set well with Raleigh Councilwoman and Chair of Public Safety Mary-Ann Baldwin.

"That's just moving the cost from one set of taxpayers to another," Baldwin said.

She says three weeks ago, the city studied how much it would cost if the State Capitol Police lost 40 positions.

"Our study shows about $1.76 million in cost," she added.

Republicans say there have been conversations with Raleigh police about the change, but Baldwin says it's news to her and something the city may try to fight. In the meantime, Republicans say they're open to change, but not now and not in this budget.

"We will continue to look at that part of the budget and other parts of the budget as to whether or not the funding is adequate to provide the service that's necessary," Senator Berger said. "So, we'll come back next May to make revisions to the budget."

The budget that would cut the State Capitol Police positions hasn't been approved but has been agreed to by both House and Senate Republicans and will likely be the budget that ends up on Governor Beverly Perdue's desk.

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