According to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer the new Obama stimulus bill has funds to re-start the COPS program, the Clinton-era initiative aimed at putting 100,000 more cops on the streets.
Syracuse will supposedly get enough money to hire 14 new cops.
I have a request: make sure that the patrol units are fully staffed from Thursday through Sunday. At meetings of the Common Council Public Safety committee, Chief Gary Miguel has admitted that shortages of police–through injuries, time off, sickness and military service–result in patrol shifts being understaffed, particularly on weekend evenings.
However, overtime is simultaneously provided to other police officers to do things like hang out at the airport or direct traffic at S.U. games. The police department, despite its para-military chain of command system, continues to allocate overtime on a voluntary basis and allows weekend evening patrols to be short-staffed.
The Common Council, Mayor and Police Chief must guarantee that the new money will be used to fully staff patrol divisions–our first line of defense against crime.