- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council teaches officers how to make tough decisions, but is now facing one itself.

The Concord Monitor reports (https://bit.ly/1lljqPl ) that the council - which trains and certifies all law enforcement officers in the state at no charge- is facing a budget shortfall.

The council is funded almost exclusively by a percentage of traffic and court fines, but that revenue dropped dramatically - from $3.8 million in 2006 to $2.8 million this year, according to council figures.

The organization this year has cut staff, closed two satellite offices and cut back on regional video conference classes in anticipation of a $700,000 shortfall over the next two years.

“The council is going to have to make a decision,” Police Standards and Training Council Director Donald Vittum told the newspaper. “If the revenue isn’t there, how are we going to have the financial stability to run the institution?”

The council certifies new law enforcement officers through a 16-week full-time, basic training academy. Recruits live at the Concord campus Monday through Friday.

Suggestions for cutting costs have included charging tuition and having recruits commute daily rather than reside at the academy. Police chiefs at an emergency meeting this fall rejected both concepts.

“When you start saying, ‘You can only send people to training if you can afford it,’ and you start to put that kind of pressure on small towns, they might take shortcuts or not be able to get the training for their officers,” said Tilton police Chief Robert Cormier, who heads the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. “Now they are going to start to have problems.”

Whitefield Rep. John Tholl is proposing a bill to direct a larger percentage of penalties to the council, by paring back the portion that goes to the Judicial Branch’s information technology fund.

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