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Police department gets $1.1 million for new officers

Police department gets $1.1 million for new officers

Turlock will soon see four more police officers patrolling the streets thanks to a $1.1 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.


POSTED July 28, 2009 10:32 p.m.
A federal stimulus plan to fund more police officer positions will mean four new officers will be patrolling the streets of Turlock.
The Turlock Police Department and the City of Turlock received official notice Tuesday that they had been awarded one of the Department of Justice’s grants to increase the ranks of police departments across the country.
The grants are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and are being issued under the Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Recovery Program.
The program is doling out $1 billion to 1,046 law enforcement agencies across the country. The funds were awarded on a competitive basis by the federal government and went directly to local agencies.
Turlock’s share of the grant amounts to just over $1.1 million. The money will be used to hire four police officer positions that were eliminated from the City’s 2008-09 and 2009-10 budgets.
The grant will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for entry-level police officer positions over a three year period. Police departments receiving the COPS Hiring Recovery Program grants are required to retain the grant-funded positions for a fourth year.   
The Turlock Police Department intends to combine the funds with other grants to fully cover the recruitment, hiring, equipping, and other associated costs of the new police officers positions during the three year grant period.  
“We are ecstatic to receive these funds and add four new officers,” said Turlock Police Capt. Michael Langston. “This allows us to move forward with at least year two of our strategic plan.”
In 2006 the Turlock City Council approved the Turlock Police Department’s 2007-2009 Strategic Plan designed to enhance public safety. The plan’s strategic priorities include getting the department up to fully staffed levels, improving communications and building a new public safety facility.
Due to budget constraints over the last year, the City had to institute a hiring freeze that left five police officer positions vacant.
The grant has to be taken before City Council for approval before any hiring can take place, Langston said. He said he didn’t anticipate any problems in finding qualified candidates because so many police recruits were unable to find employment due to a nation-wide reduction in hiring.
Law enforcement agencies in California received just over $211 million in the COPS grants, giving the state more than 21 percent of the recovery funds allocated for the program.
The largest recipient in California was Oakland, which was awarded $19 million for 41 officers. They were followed by the San Francisco and Los Angeles police departments, which got $16 million each for 50 officers each.
Modesto’s police department is getting $4.4 million to hire 13 officers, eight of which will be re-hires from the city’s recent lay-offs.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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