Hermiston receives COPS grant

By on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

HERMISTON – Police Chief Jason Edmiston learned he now has the funding to hire three new officers for his understaffed department. He was notified by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services that the application for a $375,000, three-year grant has been approved.

The money will allow the department to grow from 31 to 34 officers.

“The three additional positions that we applied for are specific to patrol,” Edmiston said. “This will get us back to a point where we’re able to have dedicated traffic enforcement and increase the four patrol teams by one, putting the teams at five per shift.”

While hiring from another law enforcement agency alleviates the requirement of officers having to attend the police academy in Salem, Edmiston believes that the majority of the applicants will be new to policing.

“It’s a good problem to have to try to figure out how to adjust to these three additional,” he said. “Two hundred forty to 260 days is the average time from a vacancy to when a person is out on their own.”

Edmiston acknowledges that the grant will not pay the total for three new officers. He said indications are that the city will step up.

“It’s enough to help us move forward and the city will continue to have conversations on how to fund these positions long term,” he said. “With the growth that we have experienced already and the growth on the horizon that we’ll be able to absorb that but I would prefer to defer those questions to city administration.”