Like the Grinch who stole Christmas, Congress has taken away funding that police officers rely on for equipment and overtime needs, says the Mt. Airy (N.C.) News. The newspaper showed how the $350 million cut by Congress in the federal Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program affects law enforcement in a local area.
For the Mount Airy Police Department, the grants provided a major boost to narcotics investigations while also supplying items such as new guns. This year, the local force received $8,437, which it used to acquire .45-caliber Glock 37s. Another $9,367 grant came for overtime pay, which was used to defray the costs of narcotics investigations that tend to be lengthy, time-consuming operations. Police were seeking $8,692 more for tasers, and an additional $9,347 for narcotics investigation funds, which now appear in jeopardy. “We rely on these grants to a large extent,” said Sgt. James H. Armbrister. The narcotics overtime aid played a big role in attacking a growing drug problem, by helping offset labor costs. It enabled more time to be devoted to investigations by greater numbers of officers, which sometimes makes all the difference in making a bust. “It's what can two men do and what can four men do,” said one official.