The La Crosse Police Department hopes to grow its neighborhood resource officer program by two new officers this year.
The officers would be assigned to the city’s Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood. The NRO program, which deploys two officers each in the city’s Washburn, downtown and Lower Northside Depot neighborhoods, began in 2014.
A $250,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant that requires a $109,077 match would fund the added positions, which would bring the department to 98 sworn officers, Assistant Chief Rob Abraham said. City leaders are working to secure the private donations.
The resolution to add the positions was introduced in the Common Council on Thursday for a vote in February.
If approved, the officers could begin work in the Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood by spring.
“We believe that adding officers in that neighborhood would help contribute to the positive changes that are happening there already,” Abraham said.
NROs are free from calls assigned to patrol officers to dedicate their time to addressing quality of life issues affecting neighborhoods, including chronic nuisance properties, drug houses and homelessness. They also work to build connections with business owners, residents and other stakeholders.
“They have the time to focus on problem solving for repeat issues,” Abraham said.
The agency hopes to add an additional two NROs on the city’s North Side in the future.
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