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Monday, November 29, 2021

DOJ awards St. Paul grants to 30 officers, but mayor non-committed

US Justice Department officials on Thursday announced a $3.75 million grant for 30 police officers for St. Paul, though it was not immediately known whether Mayor Melvin Carter would accept it. The grant requires the same amount of funding from the city.

A majority of council members recently said they support adding funds to appoint officers next year to avoid the drop in numbers seen recently.

The Justice Department is giving $139 million to police departments across the US as part of a grant program that will bring in more than 1,000 new officers. After receiving over 600 applications, it will be provided to 183 law enforcement agencies nationwide and in US territories. The funds are meant to help police departments reduce crime and encourage community policing.

If St. Paul accepts the full grant money, the city will need to provide a $1.8 million match annually for the next three years, according to the Police Department. Federal funding will cover a portion of three years’ salary.

“Carter’s administration is always looking for ways to leverage external funding in support of our comprehensive, coordinated and data-driven approach to public safety,” said Peter Leggett, Carter’s director of communications. “The mayor looks forward to learning more about the opportunities and obligations created by this grant.”

scheduled tribe. Paul, other cities delay hiring officials

The grant awards come as police departments across the US face budget cuts, cities grapple with ballooning costs from the coronavirus pandemic and national efforts to reduce police funding in favor of spending more money on social services. make a call. Many police agencies have delayed or canceled police academy classes, leaving many jobs likely to remain vacant when other officers retire.

Extel told the city council in September that next year’s proposed budget would not allow them to bring the department back to adequate staffing, and requested additional funding to fill vacancies. He said that he has not been able to organize a police academy since 2019 and also, the department has seen more officers leaving than usual. Academies are the way officers are brought into the department.

An academy of 63 applicants is currently running. They are to graduate in February and complete field training by July, when they will be “ready for the road.”

By the end of this year, the St. Paul’s Department is projected to have a shortage of 81 officers. The present authorized strength of the department is 620 officers.

“My goal is to make 620 officers available year-round to serve the community and victims of crime and build trust and engagement with our community,” Extel said Thursday. The grant “will allow us to hire enough officers that, as we lose officers throughout the year, it corrects the traditional gap between authorized strength and the actual number of officers deployed on the street.”

Extel has said he proposed grant money to Carter, which Mayer did not include in his 2022 budget proposal.

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When asked about federal grants in September, Carter said that along with immediate benefits, such funds “come with a long-term commitment of millions … of Citi dollars. … We will make the most of our lifetimes.” are on the other side of one of the major economic crises and we are very cautious and very careful … how do we manage the budget finances of the city, … especially those types of proposals that involve permanent obligations against the city property tax basis.

The St. Paul Police Department received a similar federal grant for 15 officers in 2015, which was reduced to 10, according to the department.

Council members say they want stable officer staffing

Five of the seven city council members said last month that they support the addition of a second police academy.

Council President Amy Brendmon said on Thursday she hoped the city would be “lucky enough” to receive the federal grant. He said the majority of council members are committed during this year’s budget process for 2022 “to ensure that we have a more stable level of oath officers available during the year.”

“For at least two years, Chief Todd Extel has put forward two options for addressing this problem,” city council member Jane Prince wrote in letters to downtown’s two chief executives last month. “The first is to add a second police academy in the first half of the year, to hire up to twice the authorized strength per year. … Instead, Mayor Carter has followed the budget maneuvers of previous administrations, including replacing the first. Hiring requires $2M (in 2021 and $3.8M in 2020) before hiring, forcing the department to operate our entire community at critically low levels of risk.”

Carter’s proposed Police General Fund budget for next year is $104 million, about $754,000 less than this year’s budget as some work is being transferred to other departments.

Overall, the 2022 proposal equates to an increase in the general fund budget of $4.3 million for the police department—the most of any city department—in cost of living for John, director of the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy, St. Paul Financial Services. McCarthy said earlier, including growth and funding.

The city asked departments to take cost-saving measures in 2020 and this year because of the pandemic, which avoided layoffs or a dip in budget reserves and did not increase the city’s tax levy. For the police department, this meant not bringing in new officers in 2019 and 2020.

Leggett has said that Carter’s 2022 proposal restores the attrition budget reduced in 2021 amid the pandemic and will ensure the police department can function up to its authorized strength, which Mayer’s approval to move forward with the police academy Got strength from

This story contains information from The Associated Press.

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