NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of Niles’ police department is nearly at full strength again — and expects to be fully-staffed by years end.
Niles has battled financial issues for years. Those money problems hit the police department, forcing them to operate below a full strength.
Three officers were laid off at the beginning of 2016. And at one point, due to sick leaves, Niles PD had only 27 policemen.
However, two officers started their first day Sunday, bringing the police department up to 34 sworn-in officers — just one shy of authorized strength.
The police department expects to hire the 35th by the end of the year.
“We do need to make sure there are enough officers working the roads so we can safely respond to calls,” said Niles PD Capt. John Marshall.
The city passed an income tax increase in March of 2016 to help fund the department.
So far in 2017, the city has been able to hire five new policemen.
“It’s definitely a benefit to be able to staff the police department in the fullest capacity in order to best serve the community,” Marshall said.
Captain Marshall estimates 2010 was the last time Niles PD had a full staff. He says the new hires will allow the department to drastically cut back on overtime costs.