ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford police have to hire more officers to take advantage of a federal grant that will help them hire even more in the future.
Part of this year’s budget plan is to put a chunk of money aside to pay half the salaries of five new police officers for three years. The rest of their pay is being funded by a federal cops grant but only if the Department stays at a certain staffing level.
The Cops Hiring Grant is awarded to departments throughout the United States by the Department of Justice. The City Council just accepted the funds awarded to Rockford Police. Right now the Department has around 280 officers employed and they need to get up to 285 meaning they have to hire about 5 more officers because they can hire the extra five with grant money.
“I believe that we need more police officers on the streets of Rockford. I think it’ll help with the safety of the community. It’s five additional officers so it’s not like we’re imposing outrageous budgetary need where we’re saying we need an extra 200 officers, but five officers I believe can truly make a difference,” said 4th Ward Alderman Kevin Frost.
The Grant gives the city $625,000 to pay for those new salaries over a three year span and then the department has to keep those officers on the force for a full year afterward and pay their entire salaries. The Rockford Police have up to three years to hire those new cops.
Right now there are council members who are for and against the plan but it seems like there is more support for it than not. It’ll likely get approved, but we’ll see next week.