Millions will be used to hire more area officers

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Millions of dollars in federal economic stimulus money is starting to trickle into Alabama police departments, and area officials say the money will be a big help. The Bessemer police department will get over $700,000 to hire 5 new officers, and the Tuscaloosa police department will get over $2 million to hire 12 new officers. "This money will help us with plans we already had," Capt. Mike Roper at the Bessemer police department said. "We want to get more officers in neighborhoods, more community policing." Bessemer residents agree the extra officers will help prevent crime and keep them safe. "I think a police presences is a good thing," said Mark Break. "With the economy right now things are getting tougher and tougher."

"There's a great need for it, says Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson. "Our population is steadily increasing, and as a result crime is on the increase.  Being able to hire 12 additional officers will go a long way in helping us fight crime." Officials in Bessemer and Tuscaloosa hope to start hiring the officers by October 1.