The Pickerington Police Department's attempt to add officers by securing a share of $1-billion in federal grant money was denied Wednesday.

The Pickerington Police Department's attempt to add officers by securing a share of $1-billion in federal grant money was denied Wednesday.

In May, Pickerington police Chief Mike Taylor applied for $475,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund the hiring of two officers through the department's COPS Hiring Recovery Program.

At the time, Taylor and city officials said the funds were sorely needed because at 26 total sworn personnel, Pickerington was at least eight to 10 officers shy of adequate staffing levels for a city its size, according to the FBI.

On Wednesday, however, Pickerington was left off the list of agencies to receive funding that's expected to create 5,500 new law enforcement positions throughout the country.

"We did not receive the grant," said Pickerington police Cmdr. Ralph Portier. "We were placed in the 'pending' group along with probably 7,000 others."

According to the Department of Justice's Web site, 377 Ohio law enforcement agencies applied for the grants, and 47 received approximately $79.3-million to create 336 officer positions.

Most of the money went to police departments in Ohio's largest cities.

Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland were awarded $12.7-million, $13.6-million and $11.8-million, respectively. The grants are expected to allow each department to hire 50 officers.

Additionally, Toledo was granted $7.2-million to fund 31 officers, Akron received $5.8-million to hire 23 officers and Dayton was awarded $5.6-million to add 21 officers. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office now can add 15 deputies with the $3.4-million it was awarded, Canton can hire eight officers after receiving $1.4-million and Springfield was given $1.3-million for seven officers.

Portier said Pickerington continues to look for funding opportunities to add officers, but has yet to secure any this year.

One strategy could be to place an income-tax increase or police levy before voters. In June, a telephone survey of 300 randomly selected city residents found 57 percent of respondents would be more likely to support an income-tax increase if they knew the city would be forced to reduce funding to the police department in 2010.

However, no such levy is planned for the November ballot.

"Any way to boost the budget to increase the services that are required, as opposed to reducing them, would be a benefit to the community," Portier said.