ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph is continuing to grow and their police department is hoping to adjust by adding another officer to its force.

The department currently has eight full-time officers, two part-time officers and a secretary. Police Chief Joel Klein says their hoping to include a 9th full-time officer in the 2017 city budget.

"It's probably been three to four years since we've added staff. With the events going on in the world, we're becoming more busy."

St. Joseph is applying for a COPS grant for the position, which would cover 75 percent of the budget for a new officer for three years. Klein says the city population is growing and local college students also add around 4,000 more people to the area from September to May.

"St. Joseph is still a growing community with the addition of Country Manor and Fortitude Senior housing, we've got more people coming in. St. Joseph has been a popular place to live in. As our residents grow, we need to grow our force."

St. Joseph has a population of just under 7,000. That has spiked from around 4,600 people in 2000.

Klein says the department has the ability to grow further when they move into the new St. Joseph city government building (expected to be completed by February 2017). The facility will provide more space and would give them the ability to add six to eight employees as needed. The government center will also give them more amenities: interview rooms and audio/video recording equipment.

"The city did very well in looking forward with this building. It's very exciting to have a new police department we'll be able to work in and have all the things that we've needed over the years," Klein says.

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