CINCINNATI — The federal government has awarded the Cincinnati Police Department nearly $1.9 million for 15 officer positions.
The grant comes amidst efforts to increase the number of cadets the department will recruit to enter the Police Academy next year. Back in June, the Law and Public Safety committee recommended a 40-member recruit class for 2016, with the hope that this grant would push that number to 55.
The grant is part of more than $107 million the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is distributing to more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the country for the creation or preservation of officer positions.
“Ensuring that local law enforcement officers have the resources they need to serve their communities fairly, faithfully, and effectively is among the Justice Department’s highest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a statement released Monday.
In addition to the 15 positions the grant will fund in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky's Erlanger Police Department received $125,000 to fund one officer position. Total, the grant money creates or protects 866 law enforcement positions throughout the U.S., Lynch said.
In the weeks following the shooting death of Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim, and in the wake of a deadly string of shootings that stretched the early summer months, Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police President Kathy Harrell said the need for higher staffing levels within the department was clear.
“This city will fail,” Harrell said. “Build your streetcar. But if you don’t have a safe city, if you don’t continue to hire (officers), all the millions you spend [on development] won’t mean anything.”
The recruit classes will add some overall extra officers, but mostly they replace officers who retire or leave for other reasons. Capt. Doug Wiesman told a council committee in June that the department usually loses 30 to 40 officers a year to attrition. That number could be 50 this year, he said; more officers typically retire following the line-of-duty death of a colleague.