FWPD receives $875K to hire 7 new officers

Department cites community approach as keystone

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Fort Wayne Police Department has received a grant from the Justice Department to hire seven additional officers.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on Monday awarded $98,495,397 in grants to 179 law enforcement agencies across the nation. All told, the funds will allow those agencies to hire 802 additional full-time law enforcement officers.

The Fort Wayne Police Department was one of two in northern Indiana to receive a grant from the federal government, with the Lafayette Police Department the other. The Fort Wayne department received $875,000 to hire, train and equip seven new officers.

In an emailed statement, U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch said the grant money will allow the department to better fight crime.

“We are pleased that the Northern Indiana Police Departments of Fort Wayne and Lafayette received funding to hire more officers,” said Kirsch. “We have always and will continue to focus on cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement in our fight against crime.”

Fort Wayne Police spokesman Michael Joyner said the grant money will allow the department to hire seven additional officers as part of its February 2018 class, which he said should contain 20-25 recruits. With those seven new officers, the department’s force would grow to 473 officers, though with the anticipation of known early retirements, it is expected to back down to 460 officers.

Probationary officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department earn $47,758.36, and the salary grows to $53,064.96 after one year.

The Justice Department grants can be used to pay new officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. The program supports hiring additional law enforcement officers for three years to address specific crime problems through community policing strategies.

Joyner said just 16 percent of police departments that applied for the grants were awarded money. He said that speaks to the work the department has done to initiate more community-minded policing efforts.

“We’re on the cutting edge of how we feel law enforcement is going to go, and by the grant being awarded to us, the Department of Justice would agree with that,” said Joyner. “We’re undertaking a more hands-on-with-the-community approach. We’ve got the C.O.P.S. program – Community Oriented Policing Services – and Fort Wayne UNITED is an initiative that falls underneath the police department. I think that was part of our success in being a recipient of this grant.”