TPD hopes to receive COPS grant

Published 8:34 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Troy Police Department didn’t have much luck when it asked for federal funding to hire three new officers last year. This year, they hope that luck will change.

With a second chance for funds from a COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) hiring grant, the TPD has another shot at earning itself a larger staff.

The odds this year aren’t much greater — 6,000 applicants, 500 awards and $298 million to choose from — compared to last year’s 7,000 applicants and $1 billion for awards. These applications are for departments around the nation.

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But, Police Chief Anthony Everage said the department is hopeful, nonetheless.

“With these COPS grants, it doesn’t mean we will receive one,” Everage said. “But we are looking to increase the number of officers anyhow, so if we could do it on the grants, then that would be beneficial.”

Troy Police Spokesman Sgt. Benny Scarbrough said he was notified in April the department would be reconsidered for two new positions. Last year, the department sought three.

If awarded, Troy Police will receive around $300,000, which would fund two positions for three years. Once the grant runs out, the department will be required to maintain those jobs for at least one more year.

That money would fund the salaries and fringe benefits of the employees, but the city would be responsible for the equipment costs. There is no local match required on the grant.

The Troy Police Department has 49 sworn officers when it is fully staffed. Due to recent retirements, the TPD is currently operating with 47 officers, Everage said.

But, Everage said an increase in demands has led to a need for more hires.

“We have not increased our patrol personnel for years, and our calls for service continue to increase,” Everage said.

He said if these funds are not awarded, he isn’t sure if he will hire more staff right away or not.

“I’m not going to say we wouldn’t because we could, but it would sure make it a lot easier if we could do it on a grant,” he said.

Scarbrough said he expects to hear no earlier than September on the status of this grant.

Both Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport and Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said they did not seek application for this grant.