Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 10 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1982) Pages: 435-451
The Newark, N.J. experience with police manpower layoffs demonstrates that a layoff is a highly damaging means of reducing police expenditures because it strips young members from the department, discourages good work among those remaining, and becomes the focus of protracted conflict.
In Newark, police management relied on layoffs rather than attrition alone to reduce the department's size and failed to assist those laid off in continuing their police careers elsewhere. Management also demoted some officers and rehired others without prospects for continuing them. Furthermore, the police employee association in Newark failed to safeguard the interests of their members under the stress of fiscal cutbacks. The association attempted to fix the department's size by law, without accounting for fiscal realities, by playing on people's fears of a crime wave. These and other factors, such as fragmented management control, are found in other cities and can contribute to inconsistent and damaging actions. If a police department's budget must be cut faster than the pace of attrition, an advisable alternative is to reduce the number of days worked with a corresponding cut in pay. A policy of unpaid leave instead of layoff has advantages from both the management and union perspective. Tabular data, footnotes, and five references are given.
Date Published: January 1, 1982
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