Woodstock Police will be hiring two new officers to focus on a new crisis brewing downtown. We have seen a rash of homeless people in the Friendly City lately, who some say are aggressive and panhandling.
WOODSTOCK - Woodstock City Council has approved a request to hire two more uniformed police officers, who will be focused on the downtown.
County and City Councillor Deb Tait says we need to have more officers to help address a crisis that is brewing downtown.
"Anybody who has been around the downtown has known that for the last 6 months, a crisis has kind of exploded there. We are getting a lot of homeless from out of town. They are very aggressive, we are seeing more panhandling, they use the streets as a toilet and our staff have to clean that."
Tait notes this was one of the main questions they asked potential candidates for the Chief of Police position back in April.
"One of the questions we asked was about the downtown. We had people from all over the province during the interviews and they all said the same thing. Policing has changed, so there time is getting taken up with mental health calls and paperwork and it is harder to get more officers downtown."
Tait says they also contacted the Manager of Downtown BIA Virginia Armstrong before coming to this decision.
"She has been keeping track of the incident reports downtown and it has gotten completely out of control. She said the same thing, the officers might not solve the problem, but it might help and it might make people feel safer."
The cost to the City for the additional officers is an extra $300,000 per year and the officers will be hired right away.