2021 Public Safety Ballot Measure
This fall, Lafayette voters will be asked to approve or reject two ballot measures. One to increase funding for Lafayette’s public safety, and one to increase funding for mental health and human service needs.
Why a Public Safety Ballot Measure is Being Put Before Voters
There is a critical need for additional resources to increase the level of public safety services in the City of Lafayette, and to ensure our personnel have adequate equipment and resources to safely and sufficiently respond to emergencies.
Lafayette’s public safety agencies aren’t staffed at levels to fully protect our City. Due to population growth in Lafayette, particularly in the multi-family and senior housing categories, some community public safety coverage is running below necessary levels. Lafayette, like much of the Front Range, has seen significant growth. Our population has grown from 24,500 to more than 32,400 -- a 32% increase – from 2010 to 2020. The staffing for our police and fire departments has not kept pace.
Emergency management and disaster recovery are vital functions of the Lafayette Fire and Police Departments. Ensuring these departments are appropriately equipped with operational and administrative resources to manage current and future emergencies and prepared for environmental and climate events requires additional funding.
Fire Department Needs
The Fire Department needs to replace aging and outdated fire ladder trucks, fire engines, ambulances, and critical firefighter breathing equipment. They need to hire additional firefighters and medics to reduce response times and provide an acceptable level of fire and medical emergency services to the City’s communities and neighborhoods.
Lafayette’s two fire stations cover every corner of the City for fire and medical response. Additional fire personnel at Station 2, located by Good Samaritan Medical Center, will improve response capabilities in the southern areas of Lafayette and reduce overall fire and emergency response times for the entire City.
Aging firefighting equipment not only leaves our community more vulnerable but also puts our first responders at risk. Some equipment helps firefighters to breathe more safely when the air is filled with smoke or chemicals. Other equipment, like ambulances and ladder trucks, get pushed to their limits and need to be replaced. The wear and tear on these vehicles gives them a fixed lifespan. Staying on top of funding for equipment needs is vital for helping first responders to respond to emergencies quickly and help those in danger while limiting their own risks.
Police Department Needs
The Police Department needs to hire mental health co-responders to accompany police on calls involving behavioral health Issues to minimize violence, arrests, and the use of jails. They also need to hire additional police officers to increase the number of officers on duty at all times, reduce response time, and put more focus on community policing. Finally, the Police Department needs funding for police-worn body camera maintenance and the costs associated with video storage.
A 2019 survey of 21 cities along the Denver-Boulder corridor found that Lafayette had the lowest police-to-population ratio. For every 1,000 residents, the Lafayette Police Department has fewer than two staff. Some shifts providing service to Lafayette residents are minimally staffed with only two officers at any given time.