June 2024 – Municipal Money Matters

Report Date: June 30, 2024
Controller: Christy Brady


June’s Municipal Money Matters focuses on staffing shortages in public safety departments across the City of Philadelphia. The City Controller Christy Brady found the City’s public safety personnel is down almost 19 percent from pre-pandemic levels.

Staffing Shortages in Public Safety Departments

Following the public health crisis and social unrest in 2020, concerns about public safety reached significant levels while recruitment numbers for public safety officers decreased in the City of Philadelphia. Since fiscal year 2019, the total number of public safety officers in the city has decreased by 1,875, nearly 19%. Prisons has experienced the most substantial decline, with a 43% reduction in uniformed officers, while Police saw a 20% reduction.

Although Fire saw a slight increase in actual positions filled, they still fell significantly short of their budgeted numbers. Currently, there is a critical shortfall of 2,400 (23%) unfilled uniformed positions across these three public safety departments. This includes 1,084 (18%) vacancies in Police, 875 (45%) in Prisons, and 441 (16%) in Fire.