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Council OKs grant plan

December 20, 2001

Council OKs grant plan



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved plans to use state and federal grants for law enforcement programs, which combined could add four police officers to the city force.

The possible new officers would include two assigned to public schools, one who would patrol the city's HotSpot area and another officer who would be in charge of investigating nonviolent juvenile crimes.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said the officers would be hired only if the city receives the grants, which all require some city cash match.

Smith said he asked the council to approve the hires contingent on the grants because the grants could be awarded soon and he wants to make sure any new officers can be enrolled in a January police academy.

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If he waited until the grants were received to ask the council for permission to hire new officers, there's a chance the new hires would miss out on the next police classes, Smith said.

The city requested $250,000 over three years from the U.S. Justice Department Cops in Schools program to help pay for two new police officers that would go in public schools.

The city would have to provide about $50,000 to match the grant if it is awarded, according to city documents.

Smith has said that one officer would be based at North Hagerstown High School and the other would be based at South Hagerstown High School, but both officers would visit other schools.

The juvenile crime investigator would be paid for with a $58,500 state grant, plus $14,800 in city funds. Smith said this officer would focus on minor crimes.

The city also is requesting a $99,000 state grant to help pay for three officers to patrol the city's so-called HotSpot area, which generally includes all of downtown. There are already two HotSpot officers on the city police force, Smith said.

The city's contribution for these three officers would be $29,700.

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