The Turlock City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept a grant from the Department of Justice that will allow the Turlock Police Department to add four new officers to the ranks.
The grant comes through the Community Oriented Policing Services and awards the Turlock Police Department with the maximum amount of $500,000.
In accepting the grant, the city agrees to allocate the additional funds needed and maintain the employment of the officers for at least four years.
The COPS grant will provide $125,000 per each officer over the course of three years. The city is required to allocate the remaining $774,938 needed to hire and maintain the sworn officer positions during the three years of the grant. The city also agrees to keep the four officers for at least an additional year unfunded by the grant. If this requirement is not met, the city would be barred from reapplying for the grant.
The city also has to spend $189,484 for a one-time equipment purchases needed to outfit the four new officers. This one-time cost will come from the city's revenue generated through cannabis businesses in the community. Turlock City Manager Toby Wells said the city has collected more than $300,000 from the funding source to date.
The addition of four new officers will greatly help bring up the police department's staffing. Of the current 78 sworn positions, one is in the police academy and six are in field training, meaning they are not yet able to go out on patrol on their own.
Acting Turlock Police Chief Miguel Pacheco said the grant will help the department with patrol staffing and will allow the Neighborhood Resource Officers program to be staffed and get off the ground. The NRO is a community-based policing program that has been anticipated for several years, but yet to be staffed because of personnel shortages. The NRO program would allow the officers assigned to it to “get to the root of community issues as opposed to showing up, taking a report and moving on," Pacheco said.
"I am very grateful for the support shown to TPD," Pacheco wrote on Facebook after the city council voted to accept the grant. "We are excited to get more staff hired so we can expand our services to the community of Turlock."