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Police department to hire 15 officers via federal grant

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The Springfield Police Department will hire 15 police officers via a $2 million Office of Community Oriented Policing Services grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a Sept. 30 city news release.

The current round of grants, dubbed the COPS Hiring Program under the DOJ, were made available to agencies that applied in 2009 but were not awarded funds during that time, the release said.

Springfield will receive $2.15 million in funding. The grant will allow for the 15 officers to receive payment for 36 months, the release said.

The city was one of five agencies in the state to receive a 2010 grant and the only urban-area recipient.

The DOJ awarded 379 CHP grants to agencies nationwide, the release said.

While the DOJ grant gives opportunity to get more officers on the street, there will be fewer manning the desks. The overnight hours for the Springfield Police Department headquarters are being cut down.

Starting Oct. 8, the lobby will be closed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, according to a news release.

The change is in response to staffing shortages in the department's police services representative personnel, whose tasks include records management and assisting people at the front desk and by phone, mail and fax.

The primary duty of the overnight workers is to assist and take police reports from walk-in citizens. Once the change is enacted, calls made to the department overnight will instead be redirected to 911, the release said.

In February, staffing shortages caused the police department to close the lobby of the South District Station, 2620 W. Battlefield Road.

When funding becomes available, the police department's first priority will be to re-establish a day shift at the South District Station and then to reopen the overnight shift in the headquarters lobby. There is currently no timetable for re-establishment, the release said.[[In-content Ad]]

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