A city council vote leaves the Erie Police Department one step closer to incorporating a crisis car unit.
The vote means the department could receive additional federal funding. This resolution removed the 175 officer limit placed on the complement earlier this year.
In a five-to-one vote, Erie City Council approved a resolution for additional funding for the City of Erie Police.
The plan is to use federal dollars to re-establish a crisis car unit that would help with mental health issues.
Connecting individuals with social service agencies. The city council president supports the resolution.
“They’ve come up with a plan. They recognize that not only do we need a crisis car, we’re in a crisis in our community in terms of violence,” said Liz Allen, president of the Erie City Council.
City Councilman Ed Brzezinski proposed the resolution as President Biden announced his plans to provide more funding for police.
Brzezinski said in order for the city to be in a better position to receive federal dollars, city council should rescind a prior resolution, which capped the police complement to 175 officers.
One city council member said she’s not on board.
“It’s pretty much taking what little bit of funding we do have to go towards other things, that was just a saving grace lump sum that we got from the federal government, and we’re going to spend it all on something that’s been prioritized. It gets 40 percent of our budget yearly,” said Jasmine Flores, Erie City Council member.
City of Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny said a lot of training is necessary before officers are ready to hit the road in the Crisis Car Unit.
“A bunch of different agencies will help our officers become more familiar with the system. How to recognize the issues and how we can direct those parties on the street when we recognize that they’re having a breakdown or a problem,” said Dan Spizarny, chief of Erie Police.
Councilman Troop said many of the community’s problems stem from mental health issues.
“For us to designate officers, funding, a crisis car, things like that to deal with that, that’s just dealing with another aspect of the issues that we’re dealing with in our community,” said Maurice Troop, Erie City Council member.
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This resolution allowed for the complement to increase. That cap was put in place earlier this year.