Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Here Get Hefty Grants Money Will Help Put More Officers on Beat

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Police Here Get Hefty Grants Money Will Help Put More Officers on Beat

Article excerpt

Large police departments in the St. Louis area did well Monday in the second round of grants from Washington to help communities hire more officers.

Of the $4.4 million that President Bill Clinton said was headed toward Missouri, five area departments are scheduled to get almost $3.2 million.

The St. Louis Police Department alone is in line for $1.65 million, enough to help the city hire 23 more officers.

Municipalities must ante up 25 percent of the officers' costs as their share and must pay 100 percent after three years, unless Congress appropriates more money later. The grants announced Monday were aimed at jurisdictions with populations of 50,000 or more and are from the $30 billion crime bill that Congress adopted in September.

That bill was hailed as a way to eventually help municipalities hire about 100,000 more officers nationwide. In October, Clinton announced the first grants, which went to smaller communities.

On Monday, Clinton said grants totaling $327 million were available to 631 cities and counties nationwide. In addition to St. Louis, the Missouri recipients include:

The St. Louis County Police Department - $1.05 million, 14 officers.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department - $175,000, three deputies.

The Florissant Police Department - $150,000, two officers.

The St. Charles Police Department - $150,000, two officers.

St. Louis Police Chief Clarence Harmon said the city department proposed using the 23 extra officers primarily to patrol the riverfront, where more gambling boats are expected, and near the Kiel Center. He said he had asked Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. to endorse obligating the city to pay its match for the additional officers.

Harmon said the department already had plans to increase the size of the force for neighborhood patrol. The department has about 1,565 officers and plans to reach 1,650 by next summer, he said.

Assuming the city uses the federal money, it could have 1,673 officers by next fall - and sooner if it can work out a deal with the St. Louis County Police Academy to help train them, Harmon said.

"We want to increase the patrol downtown with its attractions, but we have an obligation to the people in the neighborhoods," he said. …

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