Harrisburg plans to hire several police officers next year, but city officials are not increasing the size of the force. Leaders said it's basically a step in trying to get back to normal.
Mayor Linda Thompson said Tuesday night in her budget address to city council that the city will be hiring eight police officers in January and an unspecified number of additional officers through the year.
Thompson said as of now, the city has only 131 police officers. That's down at least 40 from where they should be.
The mayor said many police officers left the force amid concern the city would file for bankruptcy and they would lose their pensions.
"We lost 20 police officers," she said of recent police resignations. "A lot of our senior officers bailed out on us because they were afraid that bankruptcy would be filed, and as you know with bankruptcy, the judge doesn't leave anything off the table, particularly union contracts."
Council members had not had a chance to look at the budget, but those we talked to were willing to back the mayor in adding more police officers.