Budget Issues Force Community To Make Historic Cuts In Police Department

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Some people say that a police force’s cuts will put public safety at risk.

London City Council members approved a 2013 budget that cuts most departments by 15 percent.

The London Police Department is cutting four officers – from 18 to 14. Their last day is Dec. 15.

Officer Michael Combs is now scrambling to find a new job.

“I’ve always wanted to be in law enforcement, ever since I was a little boy,” Combs said.

Combs joined the London Police Department about five years ago.

“The guys I work with are all fantastic,” Combs said.

With reminders on his desk of a family member to support, Combs recently faced the reality that his days on his job are numbered.

Combs said that he did not have a back-up plan.

“The only thing I can do at this point in time would be to put applications in everywhere,” Combs said.

Fellow Officer Chris Grimes said that it was heartbreaking to see what is happening to the department.

“I had a hand in training all of them, and it’s really sad to see them with families right before Christmas,” Grimes said.

Grimes said that the cuts could put London citizens at risk with delays in response.

“They’ll notice the time it takes for us to get there,” Grimes said.

Grimes said that an even bigger issue could be with officer safety.

“I may be on a call where I’m requesting another officer, and there may not be another one in the city or they might be tied up on something,” Grimes said.

Officials said that the cuts came about when voters said no to a recent levy.

Police Chief David Wiseman said that all he can do now is try to support the officers that he is letting go.

“I don’t think people fully understood what was going to happen as the overall impact of the levy not passing,” Wiseman said.

As Officer Combs moves forward with the next step in his life, he said he trusts his childhood dream of being a police officer would live on.

“I hope,” Combs said.

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