Councilors Consider Grant Funding For OPD

OSWEGO, NY – At Monday night’s Administrative Services Committee, Mike Dehm, police chief, requested permission to reapply for the 2010 Community Oriented Polices Services (COPS) Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP).

The CHP is a competitive grant program that provides funding directly to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Oswego PoliceIt allows them to hire and/or rehire full-time sworn officers to increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.

The department applied in 2009, but wasn’t selected.

However, they recently received word they were eligible to apply again this year.

Prior to the committee meeting, the chief, along with Capt. Tory DeCaire, conducted a workshop for the councilors to explain the grant.

The department would like to use the grant to add two officers to bolster its ranks to 50.

“This grant is fully funded for three years. It pays for salaries and all benefits,” Dehm told the councilors.

In the fourth year, the city picks up the tab.

Grantees must retain all sworn officer positions awarded under the CHP grant for a period of one year following the conclusion of the grant funding.

“There is no guarantee that we’re going to get the grant. This is just a request to apply for it,” the chief explained.

A few officers are eligible to retire within the next few months. And, another officer is considering transferring out of the area. The grant funding would allow the department to fill those positions.

Councilor Bill Sharkey pointed out that it would increase costs for the city if it had to pay 50 officers instead of 48.

“Basically, you’re getting two police officers for three years for free. You’re paying them for one year,” Mayor Randy Bateman said.

The fifth year, it would be the council’s option as what to do, he added.

There are officers at the police department that will retire (soon), Councilor Connie Cosemento pointed out.

If need be, she added, those positions could be filled by the newer officers, at a lower salary than the veteran officers.

“Would this cut the overtime budget down?” asked Councilor Shawn Walker.

“Sure,” the chief replied.

With more officers it would provide greater coverage without having to call in extra officers; and if one of the newer officers is on overtime, that salary would be at a lower rate than a veterans’.

CHP grants will provide 100 percent funding for approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits for three years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions, or for rehired officers who have been laid off or are scheduled to be laid off as a result of local budget cuts.

It is estimated that approximately 6,000 applicants will apply; only about 500 awards will be presented.

Application deadline is 11:59 p.m. on June 16.

Award winners will be notified by Sept. 30.

The committee gave the request a favorable recommendation.

The full council will consider the resolution on June 14.