December 23, 2013

LPD gets grant for two officers

Fed pays for 3 years salaries; 4th required from city

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — The Logansport Police Department has received a federal grant that will help pay for the employment of two officers for three years.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice for $392,574 with the city matching $142,574.

Logansport City Council unanimously approved the acceptance of the grant Dec. 16.

The grant stipulates the officers must be hired for at least four years. The funds will supply the salaries and benefits for two officers for three years, with the fourth year being picked up by the city.

The police department currently has 39 officers, two short of being fully staffed.

Logansport Police Chief Mike Clark said when the two officers sustained by the grant are hired, they will work as patrol officers. He said he will then assign two officers already acclimated with the department to Logansport schools to work as school resource officers.

Because of that, city council members said they wanted Logansport Community School Corporation to contribute to the city’s match for the grant and the fourth year it would be responsible for the two officers’ salaries.

The school corporation agreed to contribute $30,000 per year for the four years. The agreement between the school corporation and city council was established through a memorandum of understanding.

Since the memorandum of understanding not being on the agenda for Monday’s city council meeting, the council opted to suspend its bylaws via a required unanimous vote and add it to the agenda to hold a vote. The vote on the memorandum itself also passed unanimously.

Michele Starkey, superintendent of the Logansport Community School Corporation, said she is looking forward to continuing the relationship between the schools and the police department.

“We’re really excited about it,” Starkey said. “It’s nice we’ve developed this working partnership with the police department. Us working together is the best thing possible.”

Starkey said the plan is to have the two new school resource officers work in the school corporation’s middle schools.

The police department received the federal grant at around the same time the school corporation received a $50,000 state grant it will put toward another school resource officer and security cameras.

The stipulations of the grant encouraged city council members to discuss possible changes to the way the city handles grants in the future.

In committee meetings, council members proposed requiring department heads to receive approval from the council before applying for grants that require city matches.

Council members also discussed when hiring employees with grants that expire after a certain amount of time, that it should be written into their contracts that they may be laid off when the grant expires.