The Naperville Police Department will return to the days of a three-officer downtown beat as early as next spring with the addition of two new officers.
City council members unanimously approved adding the officers to help patrol and curb the violence in the downtown area, which has been a focus of Chief Robert Marshall in his first year on the job.
The newly authorized positions will raise the city's total number of police officers from 131 to 133. Six of them, however, are currently either in the police academy or in training.
"I'm very pleased with the council's 9-0 vote to increase our downtown beat officer program from one officer to three," Marshall said. "By the time we get them hired, through the academy and trained, we're talking March of 2014 by the time I get them down there."
Each of the new officers will cost about $83,000, including their health benefits. Marshall said he is pursuing federal grants to offset those costs.
He said a Community Oriented Policing-Services (COPS) federal grant, for which he believes the city is qualified, pays 75 percent of the cost of each new officer. The city also has budgeted $75,000 next year toward increasing staffing levels in the department.
"I was told to present a fiscally responsible plan to address our staffing needs in light of additional late-night liquor permits being approved in the downtown and I think we've done that," Marshall said. "I think the council sees the need as well."