Residents and visitors in Cheyenne, Wyoming would notice some very visible changes following a city councilman’s budget amendment that would freeze police hiring to fund a downtown development authority.
In a news release, Police Chief Brian Kozak outlined the changes that would take place to ensure coverage for emergencies if the freeze is approved. Four of the eight current school resource officers would be reassigned to patrol work, and involvement in community events would end as the public information officer would also be placed on patrol.
In addition, Kozak says the department will suspend all previously scheduled police training, such as use of force, de-escalation and crisis intervention training, and will not fill openings in the Detective and Traffic Safety units, which would cause a delay in certain investigations and eliminate proactive enforcement.
The release says on May 28, Council member Dicky Shanor amended the budget by freezing future police officer vacancies to fund the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The hiring freeze would impact two current vacancies, plus three retirements expected in June, and combined with military deployments and work-related injury leave would leave the department 26 officers (23 percent) short of full force.
Kozak is quoted as saying “I understand the very difficult job most of the Council has in finding ways to fund a non-critical quasi-government agency; The Cheyenne Police Department is ready to help in that endeavor by reducing service where we can.”