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Columbus Mayor's Proposed Budget Would Add Police Officers

Mayor Coleman will unveil his proposed 2008 budget for the City of Columbus on Thursday. Wednesday he used a police vehicle garage as a backdrop to showcase new equipment and to talk about plans to hire and train additional police officers. Coleman says that by the end of 2008, the number of officers will be at an all-time high.

Mayor Coleman's budget for 2008 totals $650 million. He says almost three quarters will be allocated to fire and police protection.

"In 2008 we will invest $461.6 million in public safety," Coleman said. "That represents almost 71 cents of every dollar of our tax payers' dollars."

Coleman says the murder rate in Columbus is dropping as the number of police officers increases. Homicides, he says, are down 30 percent from a year ago. His proposed budget includes funding for three police classes at the city academy. Coleman says 130 new officers will be patrolling city streets by the end of next year.

"We plan to have 1,942 officers, after retirement, at the end of 2008," Coleman said. "And that represents the most number of police officers ever in the history of the city of Columbus."

Coleman would allocate $800,000 to fund another year of the Police Strike Force which he says has made more than 2,000 arrests and has taken 450 guns of the streets.