PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A historic agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police and Philadelphia will allow the city to expand the use of civilians within the police department.
Duties that will be reassigned include traffic enforcement and ticketing abandoned cars.
According to the arbitration award, the new workers will hold the title of "Public Safety Enforcement Officer."
Hiring should begin early next year.
This will allow more police to patrol the streets as part of the city's crime-fighting strategy.
In a statement Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney called this a "major step forward as we work to enhance public safety."
"It will improve our ability to keep Philadelphians safe by strategically deploying civilians to support the department's work while allowing police officers to focus on critical law enforcement tasks," Kenney said.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said this will allow officers to be reassigned to roles within the department where "their skills, experience and law enforcement powers can be more effectively utilized."
Outlaw said it will also decrease the likelihood of burnout for department employees.
"Plainly put, civilianization puts more 'boots-on-the-ground', which is exactly what this department needs in order to better serve our communities," Outlaw said.
"It's essential that we get more police officers out on the streets, fighting serious crime, and this arbitration award helps us do just that," City Council President Darrell Clarke said in a statement. "The hiring of Public Safety Enforcement Officers will free up police officers from duties like traffic enforcement or ticketing abandoned cars, and enable them to focus more on preventing and detecting more serious criminal activity. This is a win for public safety, and we're proud of the support and role that City Council has played on this critical issue."
Another big issue is recruitment.
The agreement provides two retention bonuses of $1,700 each for officers who remain in their positions through next July.
New hires will be offered a $2,000 signing bonus