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Pueblo Police Department receives grant to hire more officers

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) - In late 2023, the Pueblo Police Department and the City of Pueblo applied for the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice 2023 SMART (State’s Mission for Assistance in Recruiting and Training) Grant. This program is a Colorado State funding opportunity offered through the Office of Adult and Juvenile Assistance (OAJJA) for fiscal years 2024 and 2025, according to the PPD.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the Pueblo City Council approved the acceptance of these funds in the amount of $791,811.00. The Police Department will use these funds to pay for 21 officers to attend the Pueblo Community College Law Enforcement Academy, paid internship programs, marketing and recruiting materials, travel for recruiting officers in other locations throughout the State of Colorado and around the country, as well as other expenses related to recruitment.

"The recruitment is pretty competitive and we need kind of advantages with that. So some of these grant funds will include equipment, video equipment, and recording some kind of commercials to assist with getting new officers and for these officers to go on training," said Sgt. Frank Ortega with the PPD.

Recruiting and keeping cops is a constant issue for the city of Pueblo. Right now, the PPD is just over 50 officers short. The city of Pueblo and PPD are working together to change this trend. 

The goal of the SMART Grant Program is to provide grants to law enforcement agencies to increase the number of P.O.S.T. certified and non-certified law enforcement officers. This grant provides funds for intern positions, supplies, travel expenses, video production, POST training, administrative, and indirect costs for the recruitment and training of police officers.

"I think we could make an even bigger dent in that crime reduction and be able to do additional things with additional officers," said Ortega.

The PPD said this grant is not going to completely solve the shortage. However, the Mayor of Pueblo says the city will continue to look for proactive ways to increase training and recruitment to address the officer shortage. 

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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