NOLANVILLE — The City Council on Thursday authorized the city manager to apply for a Community Oriented Policing Services grant for the Nolanville Police Department.

If awarded, the grant, worth up to $125,000, will allow Police Chief Gary Kent to hire another officer. Currently, the department has five officers.

“We are in desperate need,” Kent said. “The national average of a city our size should have a police force of at least 12.”

The department, however, does have eight reserve officers who augment the manpower shortage.

“It’s subsidized because a lot of them have full-time jobs, and they just fill in wherever there might be potential gaps in the scheduling,” Kent said.

“But the reserve force is dwindling down because they are finding full-time pay.”

The grant would be enough to cover an officer’s entry-level salary and fringe benefits for up to three years, Kent said.

After grant funds run out, the city assumes financial responsibility for the position.

“I think it could be good and I was hoping to get it in the budget this year,” City Manager Stephen Pearl said.

Pearl told council members he hopes the grant will eventually put them in a position where they can hire more officers in the years to come.

Kent said he hopes the council’s support will strengthen the grant application.

“This is … letting them know the department is not just sending in the paperwork on their own, and that the governing body is standing behind it.”

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