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Officials in Salisbury, Maryland, have announced the largest single increase in its police force in the city’s history.
Mayor Jim Ireton says putting 15 new officers on the streets of Salisbury in the next 18 months is a major proclamation of the city’s commitment to win its longstanding battle against violent crime and gangs.
The crime level in the Eastern Shore's largest city recently dipped to its lowest level in more than a decade, and the mayor says putting more boots on the ground is the only way to continue that trend.
“Theres gonna get to the point where you can’t have this many people here during the day and have the issues we have with income inequality and poverty and push this number down any further than you can get," Ireton says.
Currently 92 police officers protect and serve the city of more than 33,000 people, and according to Ireton, that number balloons to more than 100,000 on a weekly basis.
The proposal would put 10 new officers through the academy and put five current officers working administrative jobs back on the streets, using civilians to backfill the positions.
It will cost the city about $830,000, but Ireton says this initiative is about much more than the price tag.
“I don't anyone to think that this is just another politician throwing money at law enforcement trying to look tough on crime, because 90 percent of those politicians don't live in a neighborhood where this is crime. I do," Ireton says.
Ireton believes more cops on the streets will improve not only the crime numbers, but also the perception about crime in Salisbury. In 2011, a report named Salisbury as the fourth most dangerous city in the country. The most recent report has it at 53.
For this month's Environmental Outlook: Ten years ago, Israel experienced a prolonged drought that forced the country to come up with a strategy to address water scarcity. What its experience could teach an increasingly water-starved planet.