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Capitol Police fear staff reductions due to budget cuts

Posted May 17, 2011 10:16 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2011 10:34 p.m. EDT

— State Capitol Police Officer Patrick Maynard's job is to protect the state Department of Motor Vehicles office on New Bern Avenue.

Last January, his training paid off when an employee's estranged husband came to her work place, violating a restraining order against him.

Maynard saw the man on a surveillance camera and called for back up. The man was arrested. He had a weapon under the seat of his vehicle, along with duct tape and rope.

“Having me on site here, I was able to immediately respond. I was already here. My backup, he responded in just a couple of minutes,” Maynard said.

Maynard is worried that type of service won't be available if a proposed 45 percent reduction in staff on the state Capitol Police force remains in next year's state budget.

“That cost saving that we would realize on the state level by that cut immediately rolls over to a local, unfunded mandate on the local level,” Maynard said.

The House wants to eliminate 40 of the 89 positions on the force.

Capitol Police Chief Scott Hunter said the cuts would turn his full-service, 24-hour police force into building security officers and leave many of their present duties to local law enforcement.

“All of the things that happen outside the facilities and around it become the responsibility of the Raleigh Police Department,” Hunter said.

Hunter said those duties include monitoring rallies on state property, and other police work needed outside state office buildings.

Lawmakers say the cuts would save $2 million.

Hunter said his department favors Gov. Bev Perdue's budget proposal, which includes cuts to Capitol police that are more manageable and won't compromise safety.