Grant increases police presence in downtown Bakersfield


You can soon expect to see an increased law enforcement presence in downtown Bakersfield, thanks to a federally funded grant.

The $350,000 block grant partnership was awarded to the city of Bakersfield by the federal government. The funds will be used to assign officers to designated areas in downtown.

City Councilmen Andrae Gonzales oversees the downtown ward and hopes the joint initiative will help revitalize downtown.

"There are a lot of exciting things that are happening in our downtown core, a lot of new cafes and restaurants and boutiques. My hope is that we have a stronger police presence in the downtown core," said Gonzales.

Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin said the grant will fund three officers assigned to bicycle paroles the downtown area.

"When people are proud of their community, they will all stick together, and everybody will thrive," said Martin.

Downtown business owners are optimistic about what the grant promises.

Shai Bitton is the owner of Cafe Smitten, and he said he believes more badges roaming downtown sends a powerful message.

"I can't be happy enough to learn we will be safer with more police presence," said Bitton.

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