Columbia leaders respond to grant offered for additional police officers

City leaders respond to grant for police

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia's city council will consider a bill Tuesday, January 3, to accept a grant for four additional police officers.

ABC 17 News first reported last week the $500,000 grant would go toward funding those officers' salaries and benefits for three years.

In a news release Thursday, Mayor Brian Treece said, "This grant will have a positive impact on our community's public safety. Adding four officers through this grant, in addition to the four officers we budgeted for this year, shows the council and staff's commitment to increasing the number of police officers on the street."

ABC 17 News was told the four new officers would likely take the place of four current officers who specialize in gun violence and would be moved to the Community Outreach Unit.

ABC 17 News also spoke with Deputy Chief Jill Schlude with the Columbia Police Department about the grant. She said allowing more officers to community police is just the beginning. CPD will use other community resources to help curb growing violence.

"I think getting everyone involved is really going to be powerful and hopefully change the lives of some of these folks, and prevent bad things from happening in the lives of other people," said Schlude.

As part of the local match requirement for the 2016 COPS Hiring Program, the City of Columbia must assume a larger share of the cost of the officers with local funds over the three-year grant period.

"There’s always some personnel money that’s left over so hopefully if there became an issue with the funding, we do have a little bit of cushion," said Schlude. "But that was one of the reasons council would have the ability to say 'hey, we’re only going to do two of the positions, or we’ll only accept three.' We’re not forced to accept all four."

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