March 12, 2009

Stimulus Package Could Impact Local Law Enforcement

The much discussed stimulus package, or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as it is officially known, may include some financial aid for local law enforcement agencies.

Memphis Police Chief John Myers received approval from the city council to apply for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP).

The competitive grant program will provide funding directly to law enforcement agencies having primary law enforcement authority to create and preserve jobs and to increase their community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts.

Up to $1 billion in grant funding will be available for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers.

Myers informed the council he plans to seek funding to allow the city to maintain a fourth full-time officer and possibly add a fifth officer.

He noted there is no local match requirement for CHRP, but that grant funding is based on the current entry-level salary and benefits packages. The city would then be responsible for any additional costs for higher salaries or benefits for particular individuals hired.

The CHRP grants will provide 100 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for three years (36 months) for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions. The grant will fund filling existing unfunded vacancies or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts.

Myers noted there is no cap on the number of positions an agency may request, but awards will be limited to available funding.

At the conclusion of federal funding, grantees must retain all sworn officer positions awarded under the CHRP grant. The retained CHRP-funded position(s) should be added to the grantees law enforcement budget with state and/or local funds, over and above the number of locally-funded positions that would have existed in the absence of the grant.

The grant application process will begin later this month.

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