Budget cuts put firefighters', officers' jobs on line

HOUSTON The police chief delivered the somber news yesterday. We're talking hundreds of HPD jobs in jeopardy, including police officers and civilians and sources tell Eyewitness News things aren't looking good for the fire department either as hundred of firefighters could also lose their jobs.

These potential layoffs are due to a major city budget crunch and HPD Chief Charles McClelland says right now, in order to meet his goal he'd have to lay off 181 police officers and 445 civilian employees. Officers with the least seniority will be let go first.

And a source tells us about 200 firefighters are facing job cuts, as well, due to the budget. The President of the Houston Professional Firefighter Association say those numbers are accurate and worries about the consequences of those layoffs.

"When we have structure fires with fatalities, it's always almost the very, very young or the very, very old and we're making a decision here that essentially says the city of Houston is OK with the very, very young and very, very old dying in house fires," said Jeff Caynon, president of the Houston Professional Firefighters Association.

The city has to give employees 45 days notice and the budget must be passed by June 30.

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