COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus Police Department has filled 98 of its 100 openings in its ongoing expansion with the money generated from the Local Option Sales Tax.
Sixty of those new officers are finished their training and are now on the streets, filling up every patrol shift and policing ten new beats.
Chief Ricky Boren says the rest of the new hires will be assigned to the department's specialty units, helping to beef up the Bike Patrol, Motor Squad and "Safe Streets" Tactical Squad.
Four men will be at the helm of those specialized patrols.
Chris Anderson, Craig Aggas, Mike Laland and Lawrence Singleton were all promoted to the rank of sergeant Thursday.
"The group that you see here will manage the specialty units that the department is now beginning to not only implement but to increase which are the Rails to Trials Project, the Downtown/Riverwalk Project and the Community Parks Project," the Chief explained.
In the meantime, construction continues on the new East Columbus Precinct and CB&T Bank facility on Buena Vista Road.
"I think that you'll see with these officers, a higher presence, a shorter response time and most of all officer presence where officers are normally not routinely patrolling," Chief Boren said.
Boren says the department will get the keys to the new East Columbus Precinct in early June. A grand opening of the facility is set for July.
He says the new officers are having an impact on the city's crime rate. While the department is dealing with property crimes, Boren says the number of violent crimes is down.