Condon promoting safety focus of 2014 budget to public

SPOKANE, Wash. - 2014 budget vo

No matter where Spokane Mayor David Condon goes he hears that voters are tired of crime in our community and as he shops around his 2014 budget proposal he's hoping that, combined with other changes within the police department, 25 new cops could make a much bigger dent in crime.

Taking a bite out of crime was a major theme of his campaign and a pledge Condon made when he was sworn into office.

"It's about making Spokane the best place to live, run a business," he said.

Now, after 20 months on the job, Condon is trying to keep his promise to make Spokane one of the safest cities in the country by proposing a budget that calls for 25 more officers by 2015.

Condon isn't raising taxes to make this happen, but is instead using some creative financing like retiring a 2003 street bond ahead of schedule.

"We're working hand in glove with our bond agencies to make sure they're comfortable with our reserve levels and in this case can pay off that loan, free up 1.4 million dollars a year to pay for more police," he said.

Spokane Police Chief said 25 more officers would allow his department to be more proactive and catch thieves before they can break into people's homes.

"I think we're doing better and better every day. This week at our comp stat meeting on Tuesday violent crime is down three-percent where it was last year. The thing that's been stubborn is property crime. We've been holding around four, four and a half percent," Straub said.

Straub added as he brings on more officers he can assign them to posts as neighborhood conditions officers.

"The hiring is going to allow us to do three things. One, fill those empty patrol car seats that we have now. Number two, bolster our investigative units, our detectives and the third piece is ramp up our neighborhood conditions officers," he said.

The mayor's budget which calls for more officers will need to be approved by the city council following a series of hearings in November.