Stimulus Aid: “Shopping Spree” For Police?


04.07.09 police car

Large police departments are looking to the federal stimulus bill as a lifeline that will save jobs and help keep crime in check, but many smaller departments, which are less hard-pressed, see it as a chance to go on a shopping spree, says the Washington Times. The newspaper surveyed 19 police departments of varying sizes, and found a wide disparity in needs between the larger and smaller forces.An expected grant of $1.3 million in Suffolk County, N.Y., will be a “godsend,” says County Executive Steve Levy, whose force provides security for 1.3 million people across two-thirds of Long Island. The department already has scrapped plans for a class of 80 police recruits and fears it would have to cut deeper without the grant. Mike Lowell, chief of the 50-officer Rock Springs, Wy., department, will spend an expected grant of $210,561 on discretionary programs like an upgrade of the force’s information technology or a new program to combat domestic violence. “It allows me to get ahead of the game,” he said. “If we get the money, or don’t get the money, we’re just fine. That’s the way I look at it.” The 300-officer force in Waterbury, Ct. hopes to use its $429,000 grant to improve its forensic laboratory and possibly fund a crime-prevention program for city youths.

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