Budgeting and Forecasting, Financial Foundations Framework

Time for Change: A Practical Approach to Rethinking Police Budgeting

GFOA Research Report

The need for a new look at police and public safety has wide popular support. However, the path forward is not clear. Local governments need a way to reach good decisions about police funding—the traditional local government budgeting system is not up to the task. Fortunately, a better approach is described by the GFOA’s Financial Foundations for Thriving Communities.

It is based on a Nobel Prize winning body of work about how to make good decisions on shared resources, like a local government budget. These financial foundations consists of five ”pillars.”

In this paper, we will walk through how local governments can use each pillar to address the budget for police and public safety. At the end of the discussion for each pillar, we will pose questions and conversation starters to help you evaluate your local government’s approach.


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