Alarm over police cuts in Raytown

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A plan to cut more than $2.5-million from the police force has some in this suburb concerned that fewer cops will breed more crime.

In an online letter, Police Chief Jim Lynch warns that the budget cuts will result in fewer police officers in Raytown neighborhoods and patrolling city streets.

For nearly a decade, Raytown city leaders say they've been dipping into reserve funds to pay for police and all other city services.

This year the board of aldermen is determined to have a balanced budget and not spend more than the city takes in.

Police get the lion's share, $7-million out of more than $10-million, that the city receives in taxes.

After belt tightening in other departments, the city administrator says cutting from police is the only option to balance the budget.

"It’s a horrible situation," said Thomas Cole, city administrator. "It’s an absolutely horrible situation. Nobody is comfortable with it. Nobody walks out of this beating their chest saying, 'We have a balanced budget we did great.' Because it doesn’t feel good. It’s not a win at the end of the day."

Cole doesn't have an estimate yet on how many officers, detectives or dispatchers may lose their jobs.

Some citizens say they are willing to pay more to keep the police force at it's current strength.

"It concerns me very much as a citizen because all you hear on the news nowadays is cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut!" said Louis Palmer. "It doesn’t make sense. They want to cut, cut, cut! They don’t want to pay people's wages that work every day."

The city is planning a town hall meeting where taxpayers can discuss their desires with their elected representatives.

Lynch declined FOX 4's request for an on-camera interview to discuss the budget.