More than half of $1 billion proposed bonds dedicated to public safety needs

Community

Concerns such as lack of personnel and resources is why city staff is looking at over $500 million in bond proposals for public safety.

The City of El Paso is looking at more than half a billion dollars in bond proposals for the police and fire department alone.

“People don’t find out the capabilities of the police department until it’s too late. When they call us and find out there’s a delay,” Chief Greg Allen with the El Paso Police Department said.

Concerns such as lack of personnel and resources is why city staff is looking at over $500 million in bond proposals for public safety.

“That’s why it’s the media’s responsibility to portray what the departments concerns are, or the city’s concerns are I should say, so that they can make wise decisions whether to vote on this potential bond election,” Allen added.

As we previously reported, those proposals include more than $310 million for police and more than $280 million for fire.

The bond proposal for police include maintenance and renovation of old facilities, and a new regional command center.

“They’ve been strapped with not having enough personnel. So when folks have responded to that by saying, ‘hey response times need to be better,’ we agree. Response times do need to be better so this bond would address some of that in the east side in particular because there’s a big gap there. That’s what this would pay for, an Eastside Regional Command center,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez shared.

Gonzalez also said the city has been growing with different features, components, and entertainment.

However, the far east side is outgrowing other parts of the city.

“The eastside is outpacing the growth of any other location in the city. So with that demand in place simply because of the growth, the department needs resources to be able to mitigate those concerns that take place as far as police needs and that means commitment from the city in this particular bond issue,” Allen explained.

Allen also said he’s been pushing for more personnel and resources since he was appointed Chief of Police in 2008, “We should not have victims or we should minimize the number of victims that could potentially suffer the consequences of a crime or some kind of traumatic event because of lack of police presence.”

A special meeting will be held on Monday to further discuss the bond proposals. Then council is expected to call on an election on August 13th.

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