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City in Line for Police Hiring Grant

May 12, 2000|GREG RISLING

The Glendale Police Department will receive an $800,000 federal law enforcement grant to hire 12 officers on the condition the city provide matching funds.

The 230-member force that patrols the third-largest city in the greater Los Angeles area will get federal funding for 75% of the officers' salary and benefits if the city covers the remaining costs, city officials said. The grant expires in three years, requiring the city to absorb the cost after that period.

The long-term commitment may be difficult for Glendale, which historically has a lean budget.

"I would suspect the council has strong interest in trying to take advantage of the grant," Glendale City Manager James Starbird said. "We have a long-term concern to stabilize the general fund while adding programs and services. I'm sure the grant would give us a good jump-start to get to those goals."

Department officials said they hope the council will find the money to keep the program alive, considering the city is ranked one of the nation's safest by the FBI.

Since the passage of the 1994 federal crime bill that spawned the COPS grant, Glendale has hired 14 officers, including two sergeants, devoted to community policing. The department plans to expand the group with the new funds.

"We are optimistic the council will take a hard look at matching the grant funding," Lt. Pete Michael said. "We understand there may be a fiscal shortfall over the next two to four years, but having these grant funds will increase the size of the department."

Glendale was one of five California cities to receive a grant, announced this week by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

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