Athens awarded funds to apply for grant to add officers to department

Monday night, Athens city council approved the funds the city needs to apply for the 'COPS Grant'.

Posted: Feb 11, 2020 6:38 PM

This fall, the Athens Police Department could have seven more officers.

The city signed off on funds requesting for a federal grant to pay for more officers. The next step is applying for the grant as soon as possible.

"I think it'll be definitely a great move," Robert Gilbert, who lives in Athens, said.

Gilbert said he’s lived in Athens his whole life. He said the city needs more police officers sooner rather than later.

"The city growing, we definitely going to need more officers to patrol the high crime areas in Athens," Gilbert said.

Monday night, Athens City Council approved the funds the city needs to apply for the 'COPS Grant.' The Department of Justice pays 75 percent of the costs to add more police officers to cities for three years. The city pays the remaining 25 percent.

The city says it needs seven officers to keep up with population growth. There are currently 48 police officers in Athens. If the DOJ approves the grant, The department would grow to 55 officers. The city and people who live there say the grant should be approved because public safety is a top priority.

"We need more new officers, more people, we need them," Glenn Johnson, who lives in Athens, said.

Johnson said he's lived in Athens for 50 years and thinks this city deserves the grant.

"The people deserve it, we need more policeman to take care of the kids take care of the people," he said.

Gilbert agress.

"That'll be a good move to get more officers when the city grows yes," Gilbert said

The application deadline is in March. The city hopes to hear back from the department by late summer or early fall. After the three years, the city is responsible for all costs.

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