I recently told you about our City Fire Department making plans to hire 15 new firefighters, thanks to a fiscal proposal that developed an investment strategy for Fort Wayne's future. Well, there's more great news to report: The Fort Wayne Police Department is hiring, too! I recently joined Police Chief Rusty York to announce that the police department will soon hire 20 new police officers.
Again, this announcement was made possible by the leadership of my Administration, the Fiscal Policy Group, neighborhood and business leaders, and the members of City Council, who supported and passed a financial plan for the future that provides funding for an academy class to put additional officers on the streets. By hiring more officers, we aim to keep the City as safe as possible.
The police department is utilizing the already established pool of applicants compiled during its recruitment campaign last fall.
The scheduled starting date for the 60th Recruit Class of the Fort Wayne Police Department is February 10, 2014, with graduation scheduled for June 27, 2014. All new officers will experience six months of supervised probation before being released to solo patrol.
This is a great step forward in our continued commitment to being a safe and thriving City with an excellent quality of life. We're investing in public safety to enhance our ability to sustain and grow neighborhoods and bring our community together as one.
On another note, our City Fleet Department continues to attract international accolades. Our fleet recently placed 7th on Government Fleet magazine's list of the 100 Best Government Fleets for 2013, having been recognized for efforts to improve productivity, increase operational effectiveness and save taxpayers money.
For fleet manager Larry Campbell, national recognition of Fort Wayne's innovative and efficient program is not new. In 2012, Campbell was named public sector Fleet Manager of the Year by the Fleet Counselor Services and the Government Fleet Management Alliance.
On a final note, please continue to be safe this summer by wearing helmets while bicycling – adhering to this rule could yield tasty rewards for local youths! Police Chief York and I recently announced a partnership with Zesto Ice Cream to promote bike safety for children.
Fort Wayne police officers will distribute 400 coupons to kids they see wearing bike helmets. The coupons will be good for a free ice cream treat at any of the four Zesto Ice Cream stands in Fort Wayne.
Zesto is demonstrating a strong commitment to children and families by joining us to ensure our children and neighborhoods are safe and enjoyable. Ice cream and summer are a great combination, and we're excited about this new program. This initiative also illustrates how small businesses continue to make a positive difference in our community.
Please continue to be safe as you enjoy these final days and weeks of summer!