MISSOULA — The almost unanimous approval of the 2020 city budget on Monday includes the addition of six new officers to the Missoula Police Department.
MPD now plans to hire new officers thanks to the newly approved city budget which allocates close to $580,000 for the department.
The additional officers are something that MPD says it's thankful for -- and something Mayor John Engen says is important for a growing city. The department will now be able to put some of its waiting recruits to work and they will be filling a couple of different needs.
“Actually, three of them are for pre-existing staffing needs to fulfill vacancies while the other three are to help man the newly annexed areas to handle calls for service,” explained Missoula Police Department spokesman Sgt. Travis Welsh.
Whether those new officers are filling the need for more calls to service in Missoula -- or the newly annexed sections of the Garden City -- MPD appreciates the support from its community.
“We enjoy the support of the residents in Missoula, city council, city administration -- all recognizing that our needs, and then our shortages,” Sgt. Welsh said “And working very hard to help us reach the levels that continue to make our residents safe.”
Keeping Missoula’s residents safe is a priority for Mayor Engen, who told MTN News that making sure first responders are readily available is important to him.
“Making sure that we have the resources in the public safety arena to respond to the many needs of the community is a big deal to me,” Mayor Engen said.
“So, our investment in both police and fire is a big deal, and the fundamental expectation that when you call 911 someone is going to show up. We are going to meet that expectation and exceed it -- I hope. And that's a big deal to me,” he added.
MPD already has a pool of recruits to hire these additional officers and they will have testing on Saturday to begin recruiting the next round of candidates.
Click here to view the preliminary City of Missoula budget for 2020.