Springfield police adding seven new officers

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The Springfield Police Department is putting more officers on the streets thanks to a new levy.

The Safe Streets Task Force, which is being reinstated, will help reduce drug and violent crime, according to Capt. Lee Graf of the Springfield Police Department.

Getting more officers on the streets is currently a big priority for the Springfield Police Department.

“By January 1st, we’ll be down 20 positions.” Capt. Graf said.

Seven of those positions are new and will be part of the Safe Streets Task Force, Graf said. The task force will allow officers to focus on street-level drug and violent crime and focus on neighborhoods’ specific needs, he explained.

“You could take officers who could concentrate for an eight-hour shift on a problem, as opposed to your traditional policing model where you’re responding to calls, going to different calls back and forth,” Graf said.

It has been several years since the department has had the Safe Streets Task Force, which had to be scaled back due to a staff shortage, Graf said.

The Springfield Police Department currently has 111 officers. They’re down about 13 people right now, Graf added, and any new hires made need to go through extensive training.

“That’s part of the problem,” he said. “When you fall a little bit behind, it takes a while to catch back up. And we’re in that catch back up process right now.”

The city is working on raising officers’ pay and getting the word out about working for the Springfield Police Department to try to slow the turnover, Graf said.

“There’s a lot of people dying,” said Frank Lewis, Springfield resident. “And anytime you can try to control the drugs that are on the street and the crime, that’s a good thing.”

Springfield police are still in the process of hiring new officers, Graf said. The Safe Streets Task Force is expected to be on patrol by May, he added.

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