Initial topline budget analysis
As you embark on your budget analysis, here are some fundamental questions to start with. See our guidance on where to find this information here.
How much is the police department’s budget?
What percentage of the total budget goes to the police department?
How much of the police budget is from the general fund?
What percentage of the total general fund goes to the police department?
In the past few budget cycles, how closely do adopted expenses align with actual expenditures?ShowHide Explanatory Note
How much of the police budget is from restricted funds or grants?
(e.g. funds that are inflexible and can only be used for specified purposes)?
Does the police department generate its own revenue via fines, traffic citations, etc.? If so, how much revenue does each of these sources produce?
Over the last few years, how much has been budgeted for overtime and how much has been spent?ShowHide Explanatory Note
How much of your capital budget goes to the police department?ShowHide Explanatory Note
What projects (i.e. new precincts or updates to existing infrastructure, new equipment, etc.) are underway or about to start? How much is each project?
Do a multi-year analysis of key budget totals, which will allow you to compare spending patterns across departments. Over the past 3-5 years:
How have the city or county’s general fund and total operating budget changed (i.e. calculate the difference in total and the percentage change)?
How does this increase/decrease compare to changes in the budgets of the police department and other programs/departments of interest over the same period of time (again, compare both differences in total and the percent change)?