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Cheyenne Police Department cites new employees for budget increase

Their requests were heard during this afternoon's 2024 budget work session, which focused on the city's police and fire departments.

(Right) Cheyenne Police chief Mark Francisco during the May 3 work session with the police and fire departments. (Zoom Screenshot)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — In an effort to improve police services in Cheyenne, the police department is requesting an increase to its 2024 budget that will accommodate new staff members.

Over the next two weeks, councilmembers will hold work sessions to review the city’s proposed 2024 budget. This will determine how much funding city departments, city projects and other operations will receive in the next fiscal year. The mayor, city treasurer and department directors begin compiling the proposed budget report in January of each year. The budget undergoes multiple work sessions and readings by the City Council before it can be approved.

During this afternoon’s session, which focused on the city’s police and fire departments, police chief Mark Francisco said the CPD is proposing a police administration budget of $4,566,526, a roughly 12% increase from last year’s. This budget provides support for uniform police officers and monitors expenditures for all operating aspects of the department. Francisco said the increase is mostly due to the following reasons:

  • Adding a new Municipal Service Officer Supervisor position with an annual salary of $42,640, plus benefits.
  • Hiring of a new Police Records Technician with an annual salary of $38,591, plus benefits.
  • An increase of $67,559, plus benefits, in the Temporary/Part-Time line item as a result of a reallocation/correction of part-time resources within the Parking Division and the Police Administration Division that occurred in Fiscal Year 2023, as well as a 4% pay increase for part-time staff to offset inflation and maintain competitive salaries.
  • Computer software/maintenance expenses significantly increased by $81,133 due to the addition of GrayKey, PowerDMS Engage and Motorola radio application software, as well as upgrades and increases in software fees for EvidenceOnQ, Axon Investigate and ArchiveSocial.

The department also wants to increase funding for its Police Patrol Division by 7% compared to last year’s. The division budget accounts for the wage and benefit costs of all uniform officers. Francisco said he wants to include new officer positions for the division’s Problem Oriented Response Team, which cost an annual salary of $56,815, plus benefits, for each position.

During the session, Councilmember Ken Esquibel asked Francisco what officers in the Problem Oriented Response Team will do.

Francisco said the team will not respond to 911 calls and instead target specific problems throughout the city, including monitoring the city’s park or handling graffiti problems in garages. The officers would ideally be seasoned ones, Francisco said, and will work flexible shifts and hours.

“We’ve started identifying officers in the different units that do now, but they can only do it when they have time,” he said during the session. “We’re seeking to have some people to make this their primary duty.”

Councilmember Michelle Aldrich asked Francisco about a recent article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in which he mentions the department needs to hire roughly four more officers to meet the city’s demands. She asked why the department requests funding for only two new officers for the team instead of four.

Fransisco said hiring for the team is difficult now, and the department is trying to strike a reasonable balance between their needs right now and what they think they can hire for.

Aldrich said councilmembers should consider these hiring limitations when the city undergoes future land annexations.

“I’m hopeful we will be mindful of that [limitation] every single time we annex from outside of the city limits,” she said during the session. “We’re increasing the area they are expected to cover and not necessarily increasing the staff in which to do it.”