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Police Budgeting: Winning Strategies

NCJ Number
Public Administration Review Volume: 61 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2001 Pages: 718-727
Date Published
December 2001
10 pages

Based on a national survey of police chiefs and a follow-up focus group, this article discusses budgetary strategies that police agencies have used with good results.


Police agencies gauge their budgetary success in two ways, i.e., whether they have kept a harmonious working relationship with the chief executive and budget staff, and whether they have expanded their prior year's base budget, or in times of fiscal entrenchment, defended their base against cuts. The data for the current study encompass budgets for the years 1996-98. Eight successful budgetary strategies reported by participating agencies are identified and explained. One strategy is to use crime and workload data judiciously. Another strategy is to capitalize on sensational crime incidents, preferably those that occur outside of the agency's jurisdiction. A third strategy is to communicate budgetary needs effectively. A fourth strategy is to carefully mobilize interest groups, being certain that the groups mobilized have interests that coincide with those of the agency. A fifth strategy is to plan strategically, and a sixth strategy is to use the Federal grant process for funding projects that fit agency needs and priorities. Another successful budgetary strategy is to work closely with the chief executive of the jurisdiction and elected officials. Finally, a successful budget strategy is to involve all departmental levels in the creation of the budget. 7 tables, 16 references, and appended listing of focus group participants and questions

Date Published: December 1, 2001