- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Stimulus math leaves police shortchanged
Question of the Day
Inaccuracies in a math formula used to rank grant applicants led to more than $14 million in federal stimulus funds being given this year to 45 police agencies that should not have received them, while 34 departments that qualified for the funds were deprived, a review by the Justice Department’s office of inspector general has concluded.
The grant money was awarded in July as part of $1 billion provided to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) meant to hire, rehire or retain 4,699 officers nationwide.
A report by the Justice Department’s office of inspector general released this week said the money was mistakenly distributed because of “inaccuracies in some of the formulas that COPS used to score and rank grant applicants.”
The money that should not have been distributed ranged from a $108,000 grant to the city of Hyden, Ky., to a $1.5 million award to the Clovis Police Department in central California.
Janet Stoll-Lee, a Clovis police spokeswoman, said officials have not received any indication that the money would be withdrawn. She said budget constraints have cut the number of officers from 116 in 2008 to 91 last year, so the money is being put to good use.
“We were extremely grateful to receive the money to fund five officers, all of whom have been hired,” she said.
The inspector general’s report, which complimented COPS Office officials on the timeliness and transparency of the grant awards, recommended - and COPS officials agreed - that agencies that did not receive the funding this year will be given the full funding next year.
Most of the agencies that were supposed to receive the funds but did not were based in areas with small populations. The biggest award was to Georgia’s Athens-Clarke County Police Department, which lost out on nearly $1.5 million that was supposed to fund 11 of its 231 officers. The 19-officer police department in Fruitland, Md., did not get about $200,000 supposed to fund one officer position.
Mark Stephenson, criminal administrator for the Fruitland department, said officials received a letter from the federal government explaining the mistake.
“For us, of course, it’s extremely important,” he said. “We’re always trying to make sure we’ve got another person we can put on the street.”
The inspector general’s report also said six police agencies received more officer positions than they should have, and six grantees received fewer officer positions than they deserved.
COPS Office Director Bernard K. Melekian said in a written response to the audit that demand and the deadline pressure contributed to the mistakes, but he defended the program.
“The extremely high demand for funding, the development of our new online application system, and the dramatically compressed timeline to award COPS Hiring Recovery Program grants presented challenges not previously experienced with past COPS hiring programs,” he said. “Yet, the COPS office was able to evaluate, score and award $1 billion in Recovery Act funds in just over five months.”
The program awarded stimulus funds to 1,046 police departments out of 7,272 that applied. The money is intended to cover the salaries of officers for three years. Then the agency must pay the salaries for at least one year. The departments were ranked on a scale in which “fiscal health” of the locality accounted for half, while the other half took into effect a combination of reported crime information and planned community policing activities.
No agency received funding for more than 50 officers, and no department could receive funding for more than 5 percent of its sworn strength.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Matthew Cella is The Washington Times’ Metro editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Police: 13-year-old charged with attempted murder in Wheaton gang shooting
- Border crisis fuels surge in immigrant enrollment at Montgomery County schools
- Prince William County officials alarmed at illegals housed at nonprofit
- Former P.G. County Executive Wayne K. Curry dies of cancer at 63
- Jury: HIV/AIDS grant money used to renovate building that opened as strip club
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors