TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the City of Troy works to reform the police department, the city may soon see six new officers joining the force by next year. Troy City Common Council President Carmella Mantello says after listening to residents voice their concerns about the rise of gun violence, the city is working to improve safety and transparency.

After a 5-2 vote last week, the Troy City Finance Committee passed a proposal to hire six new police officers. Council President Mantello says hopefully within the next year, the police department can hire six new members, she says they will be designated as community police officers.

“We can build those bridges, and if more of our officers are interacting with folks in the neighborhood and with businesses, [they can] swing by and stop in a business to just say hi, and that trust can be built,” says Council President Mantello.

Right now, there are three community officers for the entire city but with an additional six, two officers can be dedicated to patrol on foot in each zone. Troy Police Chief Brian Owens says he wants to increase their workforce. “This will enable the department to be able to interact with the public and neighborhoods in a more meaningful and positive way. We’re grateful to our citizens. The council and the city administration for their continuing support.”

“In terms of the budget we were able to get restored state aid. We conservatively budgeted though out COVID, so budgeting is not an issue,” says Mantello. Some council and community members are hesitant about making the police force larger. Some believe the funding could be used toward other investments, such as youth programs. 

“Invest in Troy. Invest in the communities, listen to the calls to have community centers… to have places for children to go. Are we need support for where people get out of jail, for things like this,” says Angela Beallor, member of Reimagine Troy Community Justice Services Work Group.

As an active community member, Angela Beallor is asking for more transparency between City Hall and the public and she doesn’t think this resolution will solve that. “The ordinance doesn’t use the term community police, so we’re not even sure if that’s exactly how they’re going to apply this funding,” says Beallor.

In two weeks, the council could come to a vote on this during their next meeting. If passed, the officers wouldn’t start until 2022.