As the Erie Police Department continues to hire more officers, Erie City Council is still working to figure out a plan for after the federal dollars run out.
We spoke with Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny to see if the department’s public safety plan is still possible.
Part of the plan was to hire more than 20 new police officers. Nine new officers were sworn in on Monday.
City Council members are now uncertain about how these officers should be funded.
The first group of officers funded by American Rescue Plan dollars have been sworn in.
Chief Dan Spizarny said that with these nine new hires, the Erie Police Department complement is the highest it has been in several years.
Spizarny hopes that after the federal funding runs out, they will have a larger complement.
“I hope that we can get five or six of these positions paid and kept on, but I think right now the important thing is that we’ve got the opportunity right now for the next five years to get these units up and running, effective, get the work done, and reduce the amount of juvenile crime we’re seeing,” said Chief Dan Spizarny, Erie City Police.
Several city council members attended a swearing in ceremony on Monday to show their support.
Councilman Michael Keys said that he is onboard with the police department’s plan, however they would like to find funding for the officers after the federal dollars run out.
“The problem we have is not more officers or whether we want them or not, it comes down to whether we can afford them, and whether we can pay for them beyond the grant period,” said Michael Keys, Erie City Councilman.
Several city leaders said that they support hiring additional officers and they are working on a plan for when the federal funding runs out.
“Hamot came up to pay for one policeman. Well last time I checked we have Erie Insurance, we have Gannon, we have Mercyhurst, we have LECOM, we have Saint Vincent. Maybe they all kick in. I just want to make sure that when we hire them, the nine we hired today, they’ll be here for their careers if they want to be,” said Ed Brzezinski, Erie City Councilman.
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Part of the police department’s safety plan is to bring back a juvenile unit, as well as a crisis car to respond to domestic disputes.