DENVER (KDVR) — Denver’s police force will grow in the next year, pending approval, but it will stay beneath its budgeted size from just four years ago.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposed $1.66 billion budget aims, among other goals, to expand the size of Denver’s authorized police force and throw money into recruitment.

DPD’s authorized strength will increase from 1,596 uniformed officers currently to 1,639. The budget also allocates $8.4 million for recruitment.

Currently, DPD is short of its authorized strength, plagued by some of the same shortage issues seen in other Colorado law enforcement agencies. The extra cash aims to bring in 188 officers.

Police strength will still be lower than it was pre-pandemic.

City budgets detail the number of employee positions funded each year across agencies.

The proposed 2023 budget would fund 1,850 positions in the Denver Police Department, spread between administrative, investigative and patrol divisions. This is more than the previous two years but less than those before it.

About 200 Denver Police Department positions were cut from funding between the 2019-2020 budget and the next year. The budget had added positions each year until then. At 1,850 total positions, the proposed budget funds fewer DPD positions than the 2018-19 budget.

Despite adding new patrol officers, the new budget spends about the same share on them as the last two years.

The proposed budget does raise the number of patrol officers by 50. In each of the last three years, however, 57 to 58% of the department’s positions were patrol, regardless of the budget.

Denver budgets did not include counts of patrol, investigation or administrative prior to 2020.