TPD seeking funds for three new positions

Published 10:04 pm Thursday, May 21, 2009

With vacancies in its staff, the Troy Police Department is looking to fund three new positions.

But, with more than 7,000 other local police departments looking to do the same, the chances are becoming more slim.

In April, Troy Police applied for a national law enforcement grant, funded through the American Recovery Act. The grant has $1 billion to award to agencies to either fund or save officer positions in tight economic times.

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But, Troy Police Spokesman Sgt. Benny Scarbrough said he has been notified that more than $8 billion has been requested from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, who is administering the grant.

Still, Scarbrough said the department is remaining hopeful to fund at least some of the three positions they have requested.

“This is an opportunity for us, so we’re taking advantage of it to increase our resources for the city of Troy,” Scarbrough said.

The amount requested from the city of Troy alone is around $435,000, but if awarded, that would fund three positions for three years.

The grant would not have to be matched with city money, but Scarbrough said as part of the agreement, the city of Troy would have to fund the jobs for at least one year after the grant expires.

Scarbrough said if any of the positions are awarded, the officers will serve as patrol officers.

The grant would not cover benefits or any equipment costs. It will only award the salaries.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said if the grant is not awarded, the city will not be able to afford three new positions.

“We have some openings, and we won’t start hiring until we know we’ve got them approved,” Lunsford said. “We will not add three new positions unless we get the grant.”

Lunsford said he is unsure whether the department will fill all the vacant spots without grant funding at this time.

By Sept. 30, the Troy Police should know whether they have been awarded any of the funds.

Right now, Scarbrough said there are 49 police officers in the department, one whom has just retired and another that may soon become a vacancy.

Other local law enforcement agencies are not seeking funding for more positions through this grant.

Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said while the department needs more officers, they could not apply because they were not eligible for the event.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said since the staff is full for his department, he did not wish to add any extra expenses to the county.

“Because of economic conditions, I did not apply to add any new deputies because there would be expenses with vehicles and uniforms and gas,” Thomas said.