Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon hopes to add another member to his force.

Last week, the Decorah City Council gave the chief the OK to apply for a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant through the U.S. Department of Justice that would pay for a new officer.

If approved, the grant would pay 75 percent of the funding of an officer's entry-level salary and benefits. The Decorah Police Department is required to continue to employ the officer for an additional 12 months at the conclusion of the 36-month grant. The grant application is due May 22.

"We have an interest in increasing our sworn staff by two officers, due in large part to concerns on handling multiple priority incidents at one time and officers working alone quite a lot of the time," Nixon told the Council last week.

"This a great step toward meeting that ultimate goal to have at least two officers (on duty) at all time."

The grant also would help "soften" the economic impact on the city, Nixon said.

Based on average taxable valuation of the city and general fund revenue trends, the city should be in a position to retain the officer and meet the grant's obligations for the fourth year and beyond, City Manager Chad Bird told the Council.