LANSING, Mich. —
Lansing plans to hire five more police officers to address a trend of rising violence in the city.
The new officers are expected to help the police department increase nighttime enforcement and neighborhood patrols and to disband illegal gatherings, Mayor Andy Schor said on Thursday.
Money for the new officers comes from a federal grant awarded to the city through Community Oriented Police Services. In total the, city received $625,000, which will cover a portion of the salaries and benefits for five entry-level officers, according to the mayor’s office.
“We need that now more than ever, especially at night,” Schor said. “We don’t have the number of officers that we need to address this increasing rise in gun violence.”
He explained that Lansing police receive upwards of 85,000 calls per year and are stretched thin responding to them all.
Lansing saw 22 homicides in 2020, a record number, and the trend is continuing in 2021.
“We're doing a lot of prevention work, but the reality is there are a lot of people out there with guns and we're seeing that over the last few days and weeks,” Schor said. “So we need these federal resources to hire more officers to put on the street, especially at night.”Lansing Police Chief Darryl Green said the month of May was particularly difficult after multiple double homicides.
“The only thing we have the resources to do is just to respond to calls and you can’t engage in that proactive work that is needed to maintain the safety of the city,” he said. “So I was happy that the mayor’s office got behind that grant and hopefully the City Council gets behind it and supports it as well.”
Schor said the decision to hire more officers was brought to life after discussions with community members.
“I've talked to the victims’ moms and grandmothers and when you hear them saying, 'How do we not have enough police officers to break up the party? And how do we not have enough police officers?' Our police officers are doing everything they can,” Schor said.
The funding must be approved by the City Council before it can be used to hire new officers. Schor says he hopes to see officers hired right away.
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