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Police Seeking Gun Violence Grant
As the January-March Huntington crime hot spot statistics caution of a Charleston Avenue gas station creeping onto a watch list, Holbrook announced a new grant application which could temporarily add officers to target gun violence.
Even as the week contained shots fired incidents in that formerly besieged community, a grant program has been restructured to a more financially doable method for cash strapped municipalities. Previously, federal programs paid for new hires on a sliding scale basis. To qualify, there would be a year in the future where the city became fully responsible for salary and benefits .
Post-recession instabilities have been recognized. The grant provides for the hiring of five new officers, but their retention time frame is limited to one year following three years of fully grant subsidized payments.
Holbrook told council members at the work session May 9 , “This will put cops on the spot,” referring to various community crime cluster regions. A slight increase from the previous year in gun violence made the department eligible to apply, Holbrook explained, adding the proposed prevention of gun violence officers “will allow us to build upon previous success” (of, for instance, the Weed & Seed program).
The chief advised that grant award announcements come in October. If approved, HPD would begin preparing for the fourth year in which the city force assumes full financial responsibility by strategically setting aside one-third of the expense for each of the years in which the personnel costs are met by the grant.
In addition, the city would apply for a $50,000 U.S. Department of Justice “microgrant” to acquire a surveillance trailer which could be taken to major events or a crime hot spot.
(Editor's Note: A Huntington delegation recently visited our House and Senate members in Washington, D.C. who have indicated they will assist with the process. The Police Department will be applying for a grant under Violent Gang and Gun Crime Reduction which will target the 9th Street West and Coach's Inn sections of the west end.)
The Police Department will honor its late K-9 officer, Rio, who passed away during training at the meeting. They will honor Huntington’s other four legged officers who “work for a scratch and a pat”, and their handlers. The department is hoping for a microgrant to replace the fallen K-9.
On Wednesday, May 15 fallen law enforcement officers will be remembered at an 11 a.m. ceremony at Harris Riverfront Park.