Shawnee votes to hire more officers, as well as purchase body cameras for every officer

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The Shawnee police force is about to get stronger as city officials approved the hiring of five new officers and body cameras for every officer Monday night.

As Shawnee has grown over the last decade, the police chief tells FOX 4 his police force has actually gotten smaller due to retirements and a lack of funds to hire replacements.

A recent infusion of grant money from the federal government gives them the ability now to bring on five new officers.

Shawnee won two grants from the Department of Justice, but there was a local matching requirement, which the city council had to approve Monday night. The approval means the city will still spend around $175,000 to help pay the officers’ salaries, as well as new body cameras.

Every officer will get one, and in light of all the police-involved shootings nationwide over the past year, the police chief says it’s important they wear them.

"It also provides that transparency the community is looking for," Chief Rob Moser said. "And for the officers, a sense of accountability and protection for the officers to, so it's really a true benefit for the police and the public."

Chief Moser also says the cameras allows officers to collect more evidence, and provide better cases for the prosecution.

The chief plans to begin hiring his five new officers right away, and says the additional officers will help them better patrol the streets as well as be more visible – so they can continue to build trust with the community.