Columbia Police receive federal grant to hire four more officers
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council accepted a $500,000 grant from the Department of Justice to provide funding for four additional officers to the Columbia Police Department.
The department applied for the Community Oriented Policing grant in June 2016.
Mayor Brian Treece said the Department of Justice estimates CPD is understaffed by nearly 50 officers, based on the size of the city.
"With this grant we will be able to add [another] four, with much of the funding coming from the federal government. We will then increase funding at the end of that grant period to pay for those new officers without raising taxes," Treece said.
The contract period for the grant goes through August 2019.
Based on the application submitted to the Department of Justice, the four officers will be assigned to the Community Outreach Unit, with a focus on violent crime, specifically gun violence and gang-related criminal actives.
"I hope [this] is going to increase frequency and consistency of the same officers dealing with the same neighborhoods, so that they can develop the rapport and relationship with the community that they serve," Treece said.
Treece also said CPD has 16 vacancies, but four new officers were sworn in last week.
"Hopefully with these new positions we can begin to attract new police officers to the city of Columbia and hopefully improve safety for everybody," he said.
The grant will provide the cost of four offiers' salaries and benefits for three years.