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Mayor says push for police isn't political

April 25, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Mayor Steven T. Sager said Wednesday his support of Police Chief Dale Jones' request for seven more police officers less than four weeks before the May 20 general election has nothing to do with his Republican challenger's push for additional officers.

"Whether or not I get elected, this is needed. I'm glad to see they're even talking to him about this," said Bob Bruchey, the Republican candidate.

On Wednesday, Jones asked City Council members to fund six more police officers, a sergeant, a dispatcher and six police vehicles.

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Jones said he would use the team of seven officers to tackle the city's growing drug problems and related violent crime. The team also could address other problems such as prostitution and graffiti.

Councilman Mark Jameson, who did not attend Wednesday's budget meeting, said he prefers the decision about whether to fund the police chief's request be put off for two months so the new mayor and council can discuss it.

"It's taking place in a very emotional setting," Jameson said, citing the upcoming election, ongoing negotiations with the police officers' union and the March 23 killing of a New Jersey man on West North Avenue.

It's not good policy to make such a decision in an emotional setting, said Jameson, who is not running for re-election.

This isn't the first time the issue of hiring more police officers has come up so close to an election.

Two weeks before the 1989 general election, Sager supported a 4-cent property tax increase to hire up to seven more police officers, he said. Six were hired.

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