A 20 percent increase in the amount budgeted for Buda Police Department officer training could be a part of the city’s $87 million budget for the next fiscal year, if approved by city officials.
The increase was presented to the Buda City Council during a special presentation by City Manager Kenneth Williams Aug. 30 at a special called meeting on the city’s upcoming budget.
Buda Chief of Police Bo Kidd said the department’s budget for training in fiscal year 2016-2017 is a little over $16,000. Almost half of that amount consists of state-mandated continuing training for all officers.
Buda Police spent just under $13,000 for officer training in 2016 out of a total departmental budget of $1.59 million.
The department’s total proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 is $1.89 million
Kidd said “training is essential” due to the liability involved in police work.
“It’s either spending the money to get it (training) right or spending the money on liability issues,” Kidd said.
Some of the state mandated training courses include how to handle identity theft, use-of-force training, K-9, accident reconstruction, homicide and forensic training, among others.
The length of each training course varies, Kidd said. Some training courses can last up to eight hours, with the longest training course, accident reconstruction, taking two weeks.
Kidd said the accident reconstruction course takes so long because of the meticulous nature of the reconstruction itself.
According to Kidd, accident reconstruction is very complex because of the delicate procedures involved, such as gathering evidence and deducing the likelihood of what could have happened based on small clues.
Additional training courses that are going to be added in the new fiscal year include driving school and leadership training on all levels.
Kidd said he added the driving school training course this year because of the increased amount of officers and cars in the department’s fleet.
As far as the leadership training goes, Kidd said that he thinks it’s important for all officers to have leadership training so transitioning up to higher level positions is easier.
“We take care of mandated courses first, then from there, plan out what we need for the year,” Kidd said of the overall BPD training budget.
According to Kidd, ongoing training for police officers is essential because academy training isn’t enough to be successful in the field.
“Investing in people and training is essential to having a successful department,” Kidd said.