The city of Atlanta has accepted $11.2 million in federal stimulus funds to hire 50 new police officers, but it not likely those officers will be patrolling the streets until 2010—maybe eight months from now.

According to Deputy Police Chief George Turner, it can take eight months to get the officers hired, trained and actually on the job. He expects to have the 50 hired no later than January.

The money Atlanta received as part of $1 billion in federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants that were announced in July to create or preserve nearly 5,000 positions in law enforcement in the U.S. The grants cover entry-level salaries and benefits for three years for newly hired full-time police officers and for rehired officers who have been laid off or are scheduled to be laid off as a result of budget cuts.

Georgia law enforcement agencies received a total of $31.7 million through the COPS program, allowing them to create or retain 184 officers, according to the U.S. Justice Department. DeKalb County was awarded $3.1 million for 15 officers and Fulton County $1.2 million for seven officers.

–John Schaffner