Federal grant allows Rockford Police force to grow

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- There will soon be more officers on the Rockford Police Department thanks to a new federal grant.

The COP Hiring Grant gives Rockford police the ability to pay for five more officers for three years. City council approved this grant and will be paying for 280,000 dollars to help support these officers.

The rest is about 650,000 dollars, which will be paid by the grant.

When Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea became Chief in April 2016, he says the number of officers was around 270. He says he has worked to raise that number with the help of grants.

Before this COP Grant, the police department could only staff a maximum of 297. They will now be able to go up to 302.

Chief O'Shea says this has been one of his goals since he was sworn in.

"It shows the support of the council and the mayor. I'm very happy about it. It helps build morale with the officers. It helps bolster our safety for the citizens in the community. It helps keep down the overtime costs," says Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea.

Chief O'Shea says that another grant that the police force received in 2013 has been extended over the years and is being used again this year to help with the cost of officers.

The Rockford Police Department is hiring new officers this Friday. This hiring will bring the police force up to 300 officers.