The Calhoun Police Department is receiving close to $300,000 and two new officers as part of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant. The CDP will receive $299,478 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it was announced last week.
“This allows us the opportunity to hire two additional officers,” said Calhoun Mayor James Palmer.
The Calhoun PD was unable to hire back four officers earlier this year due to a hiring freeze. But with the newly awarded funds the department will be able to hire two officers to fill the service gap.
According to Police Chief Garry Moss, the department first heard of the grant in February. Police Department Administrative Assistant, Sharon Jolley, wrote the grant for the department, according to Moss.
“We were fortunate to receive two officers. This is really going to help us,” Moss said.
Moss says the department has been stretched thin, especially on weekends and at night.
“The caseload hasn’t gone down, so the service level has really been stretched the past few months,” said Eddie Peterson, City Administrator.
“This is going to ease up the amount of stress on our officers during shifts,” Moss said.
The city applied for the grant through the Department of Justice, and according to Peterson, the hiring process will begin in a matter of days.
“This is something the city really needed,” he said.
Peterson explains that officer’s coverage area has been stretched to fill the vacancies.
“There are time when we can’t just send one officer to the scene,” he said.
The grant will pay the officers for three years, and the city has agreed to pay the officers for their fourth year of employment.
“After that we will look at the economy and hopefully be able to keep them on board,” Peterson said.
“Hopefully we will be in a better position to fund the officers,” said Palmer.
Peterson also pointed out that the city already had vehicles for the officers, so the monies obtained from the grant would only go to salary. The only cost to the CPD is going to be
The Recovery Act grants will provide $1 billion to fund the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers will be awarded to 1,046 law enforcement agencies from all 50 states. Georgia will receive more than $31 million to fund the hiring and rehiring of 184 law enforcement officers.
“A big part of the Recovery Act is about building communities – making them as strong as they can be, allowing every American family to live a better life than the one they are leading now,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “And we can’t achieve the goal of stronger communities without supporting those who keep our streets safe.”
The Department of Justice received over 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions, representing a total of $8.3 billion in requested funding.
“These Recovery Act funds will pump much needed resources into communities through a program with a proven track record,” said Attorney General Holder. “The tremendous demand for these grants is indicative of both the tough times our states, cities and tribes are facing, and the unyielding commitment by law enforcement to making our communities safer.”
Moss said he is grateful to his staff for preparing the grant documents, and also to the city council and the Mayor for their support.
“It’s a blessing,” Mayor said.
The department is also receiving a special $27,480 grant through the Department of Justice, which will help purchase, a used detectives vehicle and other equipment needed to assist officers. Jolley wrote that grant as well.