Nov 22, 2015 12:47 PM
State agency in charge of training police officers says program needs additional funding
CONCORD – The state entity that trains New Hampshire's law enforcement officers says it is running out of money.
According to seacoastonline.com, Capt. Benjamin R. Jean of the Police Standards and Training Council said the academy continues to train cops, but the council's budget has been "declining year after year," leading to a reduction in programs and services.
The financial crisis is due to a couple factors, including changes in state funding and reduced revenue from traffic tickets and other fines.
Shrinking traffic ticket revenue is blamed on fines that were raised, and officers who are "taught to use compassion, " Jean said. As a result, many officers give warnings instead of tickets. In addition, some people don't pay their tickets, others negotiate lesser fines at court and sometimes judges suspend the fines.
In terms of state funding, Jean said the Legislature moved $1.3 million from the budget to the general fund in two transfers during 2009 and 2010.
During an emergency meeting last month, the council voted unanimously in favor of writing to the governor's office and state legislators, asking for their guidance and feedback on how to fund the Police Standards and Training Council, according to meeting minutes.
Retired Manchester Police Chief David Mara said the academy "shouldn't depend on how many tickets we write."
Alternate funding sources suggested include changing state law so penalty assessments are imposed on total fines, including suspended fines and amounts diverted by community service.
The council has also suggested the Legislature could add an assessment to inspection stickers, vehicle registrations, vehicle or home insurance, or driver's licenses to fund the academy. Another idea is an assessment to road tolls, the beer tax or the gas tax.