Police groups are lobbying the Obama administration to relax a requirement being considered by Congress that localities match 25 percent of the salaries for new police officers expected to be funded by the economic stimulus bill, says the Washington Post. Personnel is by far the single biggest expense for police forces, and many of the recent trims have meant cutting staff. The effects have included restrictions on overtime and delayed recruiting efforts. Some departments have urged victims to report crimes online or make a trip to the police department rather than call officers to their homes.
In response to pleas from state and local officials, the Obama administration may loosen restrictions on how a portion of $3 billion in annual homeland security grants can be spent. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hopes to help state and local governments cope with plummeting tax receipts. “They’re just struggling to pay their basic costs,” said Napolitano, a former Arizona governor and federal prosecutor.