The city's police force will get a boost in numbers, specifically to patrol the hordes of people drawn to the Block, the mega-shopping center on The City Drive. The center opened in November, with three full-time officers assigned to deal with the 3.5 million visitors who showed up over about three months, city officials said. About 13 million people are expected to visit the shopping and entertainment center each year.
That contingent has been augmented by officers working overtime, which is expensive and not as productive, Police Chief Andy P. Romero said. City Council members agreed this week to hire five officers to patrol the Block, increasing next year's police budget by about $350,000 and bringing the force up to 153 full-time officers. Some of that funding will be covered by federal grants, Romero said.