COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is less than a week away from submitting his annual budget to the City Council.
On Tuesday, he previewed some of what is in that budget, including a massive allocation to the Department of Public Safety.
Ginther has proposed more than $660 million to the department as the city seeks to both boost safety on the streets of the city while also undertaking massive reforms.
Ginther was joined by the city’s police and fire chiefs, the director of public safety, and community stakeholders as he laid out the budget Tuesday.
A lot of the money will go toward expanding programs that have been piloted throughout the city this year, like the city’s Alternative Response program, which adds social workers and mental health professionals to 911 dispatch centers.
The plan will also seek to boost the city’s police roster, which has seen a wave of separations and retirements in recent years, but especially in the last 18 months.
Some of that is intentional due to the city’s retirement incentive program, but Ginther announced a new investment to replace some of those retirees.
“My proposed operating budget includes more than $9 million for three new recruit classes in both police and fire, which will add a total of 170 new police officers and 125 new firefighters to our safety forces in the coming year,” he said.