04/25/2012 11:28 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

First step to put more police feet on the street in Manitoba

WINNIPEG - The Manitoba government has announced funding for 24 new police officers and cadets, calling the move a "down payment" on a much larger promise to put more police on the streets.

The province will put up $1.5 million this year to fund 10 new officers and 10 cadets in Winnipeg, one officer in Brandon, two officers for the RCMP and one investigator for the provincial investigations unit, Attorney General Andrew Swan said Wednesday.

"We made some very important commitments over our mandate and, again, this is a down payment," he said.

During the provincial election campaign last fall, the NDP promised to fund an extra 150 police officers and cadets over four years.

Part of the challenge is setting up a cadet program outside of Winnipeg.

"The RCMP is very interested in finding a way for us to have a successful cadet program outside the perimeter highway."

Cadets have been used by the Winnipeg Police Service to handle many routine calls, freeing up police officers for more urgent matters. The province is now talking to the RCMP about setting up a similar program in other communities, Swan said.