It is too early to tell if the city's hiring freeze, which includes the cancellation of the start of classes for 170 police recruits, will have any effect on police protection in the University area, a Philadelphia Police captain said Monday. Mayor Wilson Goode announced the freeze last week. He said that it will allow city officials more time to devise a financial resuce plan before the city runs out of money. Philadelphia Police Captain Richard DeLise said that the cancellation of the November and January recruit classes would not have any effect until April, since police training is a five-month program. October's class of 80 to 100 recruits will start as scheduled, he said. He added that an improvement in the city's financial picture could revive the classes. The freeze does not affect University Police. University Police spokesperson Sylvia Canada said that the force has hired more than 30 officers during the past year, and now totals 75 officers. Mobile patrol extends west to 43rd Street between Chestnut and Pine streets, Canada said. Jim McDevitt, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said that while the city's force has grown, the FOP does not consider the current level to be a "totally safe level of manpower." "The police officers of the city of Philadelphia are good cops in spite of the system, not because of it," McDevitt said. The shortage of police has lead to problems for officers getting backup support on a crime scene. Without such support, officers can become more reluctant to take risks, he said. City Council member Lucien Blackwell said the freeze is necessary because the city failed to sell $375 million in short-term notes earlier this month. "We're being squeezed out of the money market by people who are playing politics with this administration," Blackwell said.Comments powered by Disqus
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