By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Among the many details in Mayor Nutter’s new budget is a plan to hire 400 more police officers over the coming year. Commissioner Charles Ramsey says that’ll help, as the department tries to keep up with retirements fueled by the controversial DROP program.READ MORE: Beach Erosion Will Keep One-Third Of North Wildwood Beaches Closed Memorial Day Weekend
The goal of the mayor’s budget is to have a uniformed police force numbering 6500. The department is only about 125 below that currently, but pending retirements could push them further from the goal. So, Commissioner Ramsey is thrilled to have funding to hire 400 officers in the coming year.
Beyond that, Ramsey faces 300 officers leaving in both 2014 and 2015 through the DROP program. “The good news is that you can project out for that. That’s the whole point of DROP, knowing who’s leaving, what position they hold. You can start to think and fill in replacements in those critical areas. And we’ve begun doing that.”READ MORE: CBS3 SummerFest: 2 St. Joe's Grads Bringing New Tiki Cruise Experience For Adults To Wildwood
Under DROP, the officers commit to retiring in four years, in return for a lump sum payout upon retirement. That commitment allows Ramsey to know years out who will be leaving.
“I have a DROP list by year, going out to 2015. So, I can anticipate who’s going to leave, and start making arrangements now.”
Mayor Nutter says DROP is too costly; he tried but failed last year to convince City Council to eliminate the pension perk.MORE NEWS: Barnegat High School Student Stabbed During Fight In Bathroom