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Police departments dominate city budgets, including cities in Utah

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 16, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — America’s cities spend more on police than any other service.

It’s true nationwide and in Utah.

Among the biggest departments nationally, one stands out for receiving a lower percentage of its city’s budget than others. New York City gives just under 8 percent of its general fund for police. Even so, that amounts to $5.61 billion, which is more than any other department in the country.

That’s according to the public information data gathering website

Chicago by comparison gives police 37 percent of the city’s general fund.

The Salt Lake City Police Department is on the low end by that metric. Twenty-five percent of the city general fund goes to police, though an additional 4 percent goes to dispatch services, split between police, fire and other emergency calls.

That 25 percent is the lowest share for a police department among Utah’s five largest cities.

West Jordan gives its police department almost 38 percent of its general fund, with the other five largest cities falling in between.

Still, Salt Lake City’s general fund as a whole is far larger than any other city in Utah, out of proportion to its size because it is such a business and transportation hub. The Salt Lake City Police Department budget, at about $62.5 million, is almost three times bigger than the next largest city department.