I was pleased to recently join Police Chief Rusty York in announcing that the Fort Wayne Police Department has received a $1.25 million Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to hire 10 additional police officers to serve the community. The academy class for the 10 grant-funded officers is tentatively scheduled to begin in January 2015.
This is great news for our City and our neighborhoods! Investing in public safety is critical in our efforts of being a City that values quality of life and strong neighborhoods, and being a vibrant place for business and job growth. We want citizens and businesses to feel safe and be encouraged about the future of Fort Wayne.
Earlier this year, local funding was approved to hire 20 new police officers. The academy class for those officers will begin in early 2014.
COPS is the office of the U.S. Department of Justice that advances the practice of community policing in America's state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. COPS does its work principally by sharing information and making grants to police departments throughout the nation. By having additional police resources, we're going to continue with the positive momentum in our community.
Speaking of Public Safety, I recently reemphasized my commitment to public safety by announcing plans to move forward with implementing a Director of Public Safety position -- which was in place under several mayors in past years.
I have chosen Police Chief York for the new position. York has served as Police Chief since 2000 and has 36 years of experience in public safety.
York will oversee the Fort Wayne Police Department and Fort Wayne Fire Department and be responsible for reviewing and ensuring that staffing levels in the police and fire departments meet the needs of the City. The chiefs of the police and fire departments will report to York.
In addition to overseeing the academy classes, York will lead the efforts for Fort Wayne to receive grant funding for public safety, further enhance collaborative efforts among public safety agencies, mentor public safety employees, and provide direction and input on union negotiations.
New academy classes, additional funding for public safety, and a renewed commitment to partnering on safety issues with citizens and businesses make this the right time to come together with a Director of Public Safety position.
I want our City to be as safe as possible. We're facing challenges in Fort Wayne, and we're working tirelessly to meet those challenges. Investing in public safety is critical to being a place where people want to live, work, and play. The Fort Wayne Police Department will continue to work collaboratively with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Indiana State Police, the Allen County Sheriff's Department, and the Allen County Prosecutor's Office to reduce violence and solve crimes. Enhancing our public safety efforts through the new Director of Public Safety role puts us in position for future success.
York would begin his duties on January 1, 2014, pending approval by the City Council. A new Police Chief will be announced before the end of the year.