LA CROSSE, W I - The La Crosse Police Department could have three additional officers on the way.
The new positions would have a unique, specific focus on engaging in city neighborhoods.
The additional positions would be made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
It needs to be approved by City Council on Thursday night before it's official, but some say that shouldn't be a problem because the need in La Crosse is so evident.
"It is something that we really really need," said District 11 Council Member Audrey Kader.
Kader said she has no doubt the resolution to accept the grant will pass.
"Oh it will, yeah, 100 percent and I wouldn't often say that with the city council," said Kader.22360586
The grant would give the La Crosse Police Department $375,000 to fund three additional positions.
It would last for three years with a condition of the city coming up with funding for a fourth year.
Capt. Robert Lawrence with the La Crosse Police Department said the officers' focus would be on getting to know city neighborhoods to combat heroin use, drug dealing, blighted neighborhoods and quality of life issues.
"Chief Tischer has some real plans for these new officers. They will be really embedded in our neighborhoods. They will be interacting with our neighbors, taking a tough on crime stance but also doing more problem solving and interacting with the neighbors," said Lawrence.
Kader said having officers who can dedicate their time to getting to know specific neighborhoods will make a big impact in the fight against crime and drugs.
"Just having the police officers knowing the neighborhoods more intimately is definitely going to have a big impact," said Kader.
While Lawrence said the department is hopeful for the additional officers, so are the citizens they'll be serving.
"We know that the vast majority of the neighbors in a neighborhood, even a problem neighborhood, support us and are law-abiding citizens and those citizens are looking forward to our interaction and to our different approach to this to solve their quality of life issues," said Lawrence.
Lawrence said the three additional positions would bring their sworn-staff from 93 to 96.
He said it's a step in the right direction to getting back to strength of 99 officers, which is what they used to have in the past before budgets got tighter.
If the grant is approved Thursday, the La Crosse Police Department said the positions could be filled as soon as this winter.
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