Federal grant will help fund additional Federal Way police officers

The city of Federal Way will hire five new police officers funded in part by a Department of Justice grant.

The Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program will provide $625,000 over a three-year period.

“As one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Washington — we grew over 3,000 people last year and were the fifth fastest growing city in the state — these positions will assist us in meeting the service demands in our community,” Police Chief Andy Hwang said.

The department is currently allocated 131 officers. The grant will bring the total to 136, which matches a pre-recession high, Mayor Jim Ferrell said. At one point, the department was down to 121 officers, he said.

“We have been attempting for well over a decade to get back up to that high-water mark,” he said.

The grant will help bring the city closer to the 140 or 141 officers Ferrell said he would like to have.

Three officers sworn in at the Nov. 21 City Council meeting brought the force to 126.

Hwang said the department plans to hire five more officers by the end of the year to bring the total to the allotted 131.

The department hopes to hire the additional five officers funded by the COPS grant as soon as possible, Hwang said.

The COPS grant does not cover the entire salary and benefits for the officers. Hwang estimated the city’s responsibility during the three years will be about $900,000.

The city has been awarded the grant in the past, Hwang said.

“We don’t get it every time we apply,” he said.

Federal Way was one of three departments in state to receive COPS grants this year. The other two were Moses Lake and Pasco.

Nationwide 1,111 agencies applied, and 179 received awards.

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