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    Police Department to beef up ranks

    The city’s understaffed Police Department has begun the process of filling 13 vacancies and adding three officers through the federal COPS grant program. “They will give you grant money if you maintain a certain number of police officers,” said Chief Emanuel Gomes. “You always plan for attrition, but we’ve had a few officers leave the job that were unexpected. We got lower numbers faster than anticipated.” It will take around six months for help to arrive, though. Candidates must undergo a background check, be tested physically and psychologically, then complete a 22-week state police academy course. Money for the hirings is included in the department’s $17.5 million budget.