Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is seeking legislative approval to put 200 more police officers on the street around the state – half of them in Philadelphia – by doubling the funding for patrol grants to $20 million a year., reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s not the sole answer to the crime problem by any means, but it’s an enormous help,” he said. The 100 new Philadelphia officers would increase the 6,624-member department by 1.5 percent.
Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey are trying to persuade the 24 officers who leave the department each month to rethink their retirements. “There are a number of ways to slow down the attrition, to hold on to officers,” said Nutter. Rendell’s proposal criticism from a key Republican opponent. Rep. John Perzel called it inadequate and said the plan “ignores the rest of the state.” Perzel has proposed state matching grants to allow municipalities across the state to add 10,000 police officers over the next four years. Democratic legislators dismiss it as too costly. In addition to the direct Philadelphia hires financed by Harrisburg, State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller noted that his agency had taken over patrols on interstate highways inside the city, freeing up 63 city police officers to focus on urban crime.