CLEVELAND - In order to help tackle gun violence in Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson announced the police department will be hiring an additional 25 officers next year.
Twenty-five officers currently with the department will shift to the gang impact unit and the new officers will fill the positions left open by the transfer.
"We can't wait 15 more months," Jackson explained. The hiring process of officers will likely only take six months.
From Dec. 10-21, the department will be inviting officers already certified in Ohio to apply for one of the 25 positions, a process called lateral hiring.
Officers referenced the V-GRIP strategy -- Violence Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program -- whereby FBI agents partner with Cleveland police in patrolling the most crime-ridden neighborhoods.
"Wherever the V-GRIP strategy has been deployed, we've seen a reduction of homicides and assaults," Cleveland Police Chief Mike McGrath said during the Wednesday afternoon news conference.
The additional officers coming next year will bring the force up to 1,514. The hope is to get the new officers on the streets by May. The money for hiring them comes from the department's budget.
"Felonious assaults and robberies are a result of people having these guns," Jackson said. "Many are ineligible to have them, but they still do...What we have are more and more guns in the hands of younger people and you know the consequences of that."
"We want to deliver the message that criminals don't own the streets of Cleveland. The police department will be there and if someone has a gun or engages in violent criminal activities, we will deal with them," McGrath said.