Brian Kelly @brpkelly

FERGUSON, MO (KMOX)-As the Ferguson Police Department tries to return to full strength, it’s getting some help from the federal government.

The Justice Department is providing a $250,000 grant, that will allow the department to train and hire two officers and pay their salaries for about three years. Chief Delrish Moss says it’s not a lot, but it will help fill some of the gap left by a 13 officer shortfall. “Increasing numbers is always a good thing,” he says. “One of the reasons is because we are short. But the other thing is, you also have to look at attrition and so we have other police officers who may leave for whatever reason.”

Moss says the department has no shortfall of applicants, but stricter standards are slowing the hiring process. “One of the things we want to make sure that we’re careful on,” he says, “is not just getting officers for the sake of getting numbers. We want to make sure we select the right people with the right temperament for the job.”

Among those applying to join the Ferguson department, Moss says, are several minorities. “I’ve had a number of minority officers from the area actually approach me now that I’m chief. So, a lot of them are very eager to come on board, actually because there’s an African-American chief.”

He says in his first five months on the job, he’s hired two new officers. One is an African-American.

Moss says the two officers paid for with the DOJ grant, should be on the street by the middle of next year.

(TM and ? Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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