(Cincinnati) -- Mayor John Cranley said in order to improve public safety, and to combat a rising murder rate, Cincinnati needs more police officers.  He ordered the creation of a gang unit, the use of overtime to put more cops on the street, and authorized the hiring of as many as 30 officers from other Ohio cities.  The City also applied for a federal COPS grant to pay for a new class of recruits.

But the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter warns all of that will only keep the department where it is now: still understaffed.

Kathy Harrell testified at the Public Safety Committee meeting, Tuesday morning, that through retirements and low morale, the number of police officers in Cincinnati has been steadily dropping, and that it was only because of dedication and training that an officer hadn't been killed in the line of duty.

Harrell says City Council needs to fund the hiring of more officers when they start working on the next budget.

She says the City shouldn't count on the grant money to improve the situation.  Harrell says federal COPS grants require the recipient community to meet certain staffing levels, and Cincinnati is already dangerously close to falling below those levels.