CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland city administrators asking council to allow people up to the age of 55 to join the police force.

Administrators have proposed legislation to increase the maximum age from 40 to 55 in hopes of attracting new officers. Cleveland city councilmembers could vote on the proposed legislation sometime in the next few weeks.

The Cleveland Police Department is down more than 200 officers and officials have been trying to find ways to get more people to join the force.

“I think it brings a nice balance,” said Sgt. Wilfredo Diaz, public information officer for the Cleveland Police Department. “We are focusing on everybody, making sure with our recruitment efforts we are expanding it and reaching out to people that are qualified.”

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said in August he wanted to do everything possible “to keep our city safe and secure.”

In the past few months, the city has increased pay for officers, increased the salary for cadets from $16 to $24 per hour, and offered up to a $5,000 signing bonus.

Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer says he thinks the idea to allow older recruits is good. He stressed violent crime is increasing and more officers are needed as soon as possible.

“Our officers are working long shifts, lots of overtime,” Follmer said. “We need a couple hundred people back to help release some stress for these officers.”