04/21/2004

Omaha Police Expands Force With Help of Federal Grants

The Associated Press

Omaha, Neb. (AP) -- Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey announced Wednesday that with the help of two federal grants, the city is adding more officers to its police force.

By this fall, the department plans to have 781 uniformed officers hired and sworn in, an increase from 724 officers the force has on the streets now.

Fahey said as Omaha grows, so must its law enforcement. He made the announcement in west Omaha, where the city is most rapidly expanding.

"This increase in uniformed patrols all over the city will ease the strain from our growing boundaries here in west Omaha," Fahey said.

Police Chief Thomas Warren said to get to 781 officers, the department will hire 18 already trained and certified officers this summer. The other new officers will come from two recruiting classes scheduled to graduate from the training academy _ one in the spring and one in the fall.

Some of the new hires will be funded by grants from the federal Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS program.

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