Residents express frustration over Raytown police force cuts

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Some taxpayers are upset that police are bearing the brunt of budget cuts approved by the town's board of aldermen Tuesday.

The slashed spending is on nearly everyone's mind at Doughboys coffee shop on East 63rd Street.

It is estimated that 17 police officers in Raytown will be laid off as a result of more than $3-million in budget cuts approved by city leaders.

Police Chief Jim Lynch told Fox 4 News Wednesday that five open positions also will not be filled.

The chief says losing so many officers will affect 911 response times, and that's something businesses like Doughboys and their customers don't want to hear.

"We want them everywhere," said Elisa Breitenbach, a Raytown business owner. "We don’t want them inside the police department analyzing crime. We see what crime is happening. I’m fed up with crime. I’m fed up with crime throughout the whole entire city. Get out of the police department and patrol our streets. Thats what I want that’s what I’ve always wanted. That’s what we should have. That’s what we pay for."

Many continue to blame big tax subsidies that brought Wal-Mart to town for creating a hole in the city's budget.

Already, Lynch tells Fox 4 that officers are resigning to take positions with neighboring agencies, including Kansas City.

The chief says he's looking for volunteers to help the remaining 39 officers on the police force.

A Raytown alderman says she believes police are top-heavy with too many commanders that can be reassigned to duties on the streets.

The city administrator has not responded to Fox 4's request for an interview about the budget cuts.