CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Clarksville Police Department has received a grant big enough to hire new officers.

The $250,000 grant was finalized Monday night and will allow the Clarksville Police Department to hire two new officers. The money is already coming in and the Clarksville Police Department has already started the process to hire the extra help.

The grant is coming from the office of Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS. The organization is dedicated to the concept that trust and mutual respect between police and the communities they serve is critical for public safety.

"We were the only department here in southern Indiana to receive the grant, and for a department of our size to receive something like that, it's a great thing," said Mark Palmer, Clarksville Police chief.

Palmer says this will bring his department to 50 full-time officers, plus a reserve staff.

"This will be a big add on for us," he told WDRB.

He said grants like this one don't come around too often -- and it's even less rare to be approved for it.

"You have the whole state of Indiana applying for these grants and we rated number two," said Palmer.

He says you have to have a specific reason for needing the money.

"We applied for it to build community trust and communication," he said.

Palmer says Clarksville is unique. The population is about 21,000, but since the city is a business district, the day-to-day population increases during the holidays.

"Our population can double -- sometimes triple -- depending on what's going on in the season," he said.

And when officers are being called to work shoplifting cases, they're being pulled away from residential areas. Palmer says that and the increase in crime is why there's a need for the additional officers.

"The biggest thing we're seeing is an increase drug usage," said Palmer.

The grant will pay for 70 percent of their salaries the first three years. The rest will be covered by taxpayers.

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