Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Columbus has 25 new police officers
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With money from the recently signed economic stimulus plan, the officers, who had been previously laid off, were able to retain their jobs. President Barack Obama knows that there are opponents of the plan, but he says he’s doing the right thing. “I ask them to come to Ohio and meet the 25 men and women who will soon be protecting the streets of Columbus because we passed this plan.” Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman is excited, but he says that there has been a lot of sacrifice. “Ladies and gentlemen, this class is so excellent in so many ways. Not just because of their individual hard work and sacrifice, but the sacrifice of their spouses, their children and their parents who are sitting right here.”
Jill Hetzer is the mother of Ben Hetzer, who was sworn in today. She’s really proud of her son and his class mates. “These recruits have gone through so much. And the only thing I ever heard them say is I just want to put my uniform back on.”
The City of Columbus has received more than a million dollars to pay the salaries of the 25 new police officers. That money will only last through the end of the year. The city has not announced what it plans to do to keep the new officers on staff, but new officer Joshua Van Dop is optimistic that things will work out. “We’ve been encouraged by the executive staff that they’ll find a way and so, mostly right now, we’re focused on our field training that’s coming up here and learning everything that we need to learn and do our job well.”
The new officers now have their badges. Some will begin field training as soon as this weekend.
Kim Fox, WOSU News.