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Which would you use during a budget cycle as a police chief, and why

Examine the pros and cons of using a performance-based budget, zero-based budget and line item budget. Which would you use during a budget cycle as a police chief, and why?

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Nicole Budgets are very important to law enforcement agencies to keep them operating properly.  “Budget preparation is one of the most important administrative tasks of a public safety organization” (Stuart, 2015).  Also to include; “public accountability necessities justification for expenditures of public dollars” (Stuart, 2015).  “No matter the size or type of agency, some method of anticipating future costs is a necessity” (Stuart, 2015).
Line item budget is one of the most common types of budget.  With the line item budget, there are always anticipated expenses that are divided into similar categories.  The categories are usually pre-defined in a code of accounts provided by the controlling authority.  This will provide categories, usually two types, which are considered  must haves and like to haves.  Then there is the mandatory items (must haves).  These are items such as power bills.  Usually with the line time budget, the like to haves/discretionary expenses usually require more effort  to attain.
Zero-based budgeting basically assumes whatever agency it is, starts with no money and must justify the need for it.  The con for zero-based  budgeting is starting with nothing and having to justify what you need what monies for.
Performance based budgeting (PBB) is another way to submit requests for the addition of new programs.  The performance based budgeting requires all anticipated costs associated with the new activity be captured and reported separately.  The PBB gives the controlling authority the chance to see the costs of the new program.  If I were the police chief, I think I would prefer to use the performance based budgeting due to the fact the PBB requires anticipated costs associated within the new activity to be captured and reported separately.


Stuart, R.D. (2015) Budgeting Basics.
Institute for Criminal Justice Education.


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