U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Pinching Pennies: Budget-Stretching Police Chief Shares his Techniques

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2006 Pages: 8,10,12
Kay Falk
Date Published
March 2006
4 pages
The police chief of Donegal Township in Pennsylvania presents ways in which the township has learned to pinch pennies and stretch the department’s budget and grant funds, thereby becoming a smart shopper when the department is in need of equipment, such as computers.
The Donegal Township Police Department in Pennsylvania is a small jurisdiction with a limited budget. To supplement the budget, the Police Chief Ethan Ward has acquired and secured grants under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), equipment grants through the U.S. Army, and State grants for vehicles and equipment. The general fund and grants pay for all departmental expenses and equipment. The key to stretching the existing budget or grant money is to get what you can for free or close to it. When it’s time to buy equipment, the chief purchases good used or surplus items, never new. Chief Ward goes to government auctions offered through the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Supply Service to obtain police vehicles. To achieve significant savings for the department, the police chief uses the following steps: (1) he does his homework; (2) he shops around; and (3) he doesn’t give up. The police chief wants his officers to know he supports them by striving to get them the best, most dependable equipment, but never pay new, retail price.