On August 15th, the Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates held their monthly meeting, hosting Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad along-side Chief of Police Lawrence Revell. Both spoke on the City increasing the TPD’s budget by $9.5 million by increasing property taxes, moving the millage rate from 4.2 to 4.5. The increase will provide wage increases, 20 additional police officers, new equipment and technology in 2024.
During the meeting, Goad explained that the City has completed 89% of the strategic plan targets. However, he emphasized that the City is not on target for meeting the goal of reducing violent crime by 10%.
Goad stated, “We have to drag that out of the list of 130 and say, what do we do different?”
Later in the meeting, Goad explained that reducing violent crime has become a difficult task since there has been an uptick in violent crime since the COVID pandemic. Goad expressed the importance of the budget increase saying that it will make a meaningful difference.
Chief Revell stressed the impact that 20 additional police officers would make on public safety. Revell said, “Despite some of the other rhetoric that you’ve heard, 20 officers will make a difference.” He went on to say that with the right number of staff, programs that have been put on hold for several years, such as specialty squads could be implemented.
Additionally, Chief Revell noted that soon homeowners and businesses will have the option to allow TPD access to their cameras.
During the Q&A portion of the meeting, Mr. Goad was asked if there where parts of the budget that could’ve been sacrificed before justifying raising the millage rate.
Mr. Goad responded stating, “Maybe other things aren’t as important as public safety. I think that makes a lot of sense. But that doesn’t mean other things aren’t important to the quality of life and foundation of our City.”
When asked what number of officers the city should have, Chief Revell responded saying the FBI has a formula based on population to give direction on how many officers are needed. According to Chief Revell, based on the FBI formula, Tallahassee would need 650 officers. Tallahassee currently has approximately 373 officers.