PATERSON, NJ – City officials are looking to hire 21 more police officers, a move they say is intended to fill openings created by recent retirements.

The city is waiting for the state’s approval to add the officers, said Business Administrator Charles Thomas. The new police, Thomas said, would represent a savings in the city budget because their salaries would be lower than the senior officers they would represent.

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A budget crisis forced the city to lay off 125 officers in 2011, which represented about 25-percent of the department at the time. Earlier this spring, the state allowed the city to rehire 37 officers. But officials have said the impact of adding those extra officers has been offset by retirements.

Under an agreement provided Paterson with state transition aid, all city hirings must be approved by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). Thomas said the DCA has asked for additional information regarding the request for the 21 officers.

DCA spokeswoman Lisa Ryan confirmed that the city’s waiver request is under consideration.