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Tension Between Gary Police and Mayor Over Proposed Budget Cuts

Chicago (CBS) -- Gunshots at a gas station raised Gary's murder tally Friday night.

Terry Peck, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, thinks that number is exponentially high.

"It's the 40th homicide in a city of 65,000 to 75,000 people," Peck said. "We should have five homicides."

He said the city isn't funding the officers he represents well enough for them to do their jobs as is.

But, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson is asking all departments, to consider what spending they can cut.

"If she was prioritizing citizen safety, she should be increasing the police budget," Peck said.

"I think it's misleading when they try to advocate for the officers in the context of citizen safety," Freeman-Wilson said. "Everybody prioritizes citizen safety."

Peck said there are not enough officers to meet the demands for routine calls at the moment.

"Citizens of the city of Gary should be extremely concerned if not alarmed," Peck said.

Freeman-Wilson said the budget cuts may mean reducing another department and and increasing dollars to the police, but Peck said it's a similar line the mayor uses every year.

Peck said the city plans to spend just under $12 million in the 2019 budget for police.

Cops are being asked if they could cut about $1 million from that amount.

Freeman-Wilson said this is part of a longer term effort to spend taxpayer dollars more conservatively.

"In a city that has the crime rate that it is at all costs, you would not cut the police department," Peck said.

The FOP doesn't anticipate any immediate action. They expect discussions to continue into early next year.

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