PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Amid repeated complaints from police of low staffing numbers and a subsequent push from city leaders to expand the force, the Portland Police Bureau hired two dozen more staff members in what was described as its “single largest hiring group in memory” on Thursday.

The group consists of 16 new sworn officers, a public safety support specialist (PS3), a chaplain and six more staffers.

According to PPB, a PS3 is unarmed and doesn’t respond to emergency calls where there is a suspect on the loose or active danger. During the State of the City address in May, Mayor Ted Wheeler described PPB’s roster as being at a 28-year low and said he was committed to restaffing it.

In addition to the new hires, two officers were promoted to detective.

“This is the largest single hiring group in memory,” a spokesperson with PPB told KOIN 6 News.

“This shows me that we are on the path to recovery,” Wheeler said at the hiring ceremony. “We are rebuilding the Portland Police Bureau.”

Thursday’s hiring, though, is but a drop in the bucket compared to what the mayor and Portland Police Association have proposed is needed to bolster the Rose City’s police force.

Wheeler has stated his goal for adding 300 positions at PPB over the next three years, 200 sworn officers, and 100 civilian, nonsworn officers. In a five-year plan released by the PPA last fall, police said the bureau will need to bring on 840 more officers over the next five years if it hopes to have enough staff for the city’s growing population.

The Portland Police Association said PPB should have 1,634 officers to reach the rate of 2.5 officers per 1,000 people. In 2020, that number was 2.4, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.