“What you’re really saying is we want to portray a positive image rather than actually deal with the problem,” says concerned Killeen citizen Larry Smith.

Citizens like Smith are not happy about the next year’s budget plans for Killeen PD, come Tuesday.

“Highest crime rate per capita in Central Texas, and you’re increasing, for example, the Communications Department by $200,000, but you’re refusing to fund 20 officer positions,” says Smith.

The city has agreed to eliminate 19 vacant police officer positions and one vacant captain position to meet the budget target set forth in the approved 2018 budget.

Killeen Police Employee Association President Bobby Castillo also weighed in on the issue, stating:

“We are concerned about the loss of 19 police officer positions, especially during a time when violent crimes are increasing along with our population. Although this is a trying time, the community can rest assured knowing that their dedicated servants will adapt and continue to provide superior service.”

Larry Smith says there’s a better solution: “Most cost-effective solution in any urban area in any rural area to reduce crime, reduce any social problems, is economic development.”

One city councilman says although they are making cuts in the budget, the police department is still recruiting.

“What they’re are telling us is that with the releasing of those positions and the un-funding of those positions, that they’re still recruiting. Which is kind of confusing. Now at the same time, do I agree with it? I can’t say that I absolutely do. I want to have more police officers on the force,” says Steve Harris, Killeen City Councilman Steve Harris.

For more on how the community can get involved, you can contact:

Steve Harris, Killeen City Councilman, District 4 at stharris@killeentexas.gov or by calling 254-290-0052.