Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grant will add 50 Metro Nashville police officers

Dean grateful but wanted more By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • July 29, 2009 Metro police will get 50 of the 120 officers the department had hoped to hire with federal grant money. Mayor Karl Dean and Police Chief Ronal Serpas said Tuesday they were happy with the $8.67 million grant. Nashville had asked for $21 million from the U.S. Justice Department in April. The grant money will cover salaries and benefits for 50 new officers over the next three years. Serpas said the department had hoped to hire all 120 new officers and staff new police precincts in Madison and Southeast Nashville. "You always want everything you ask for," Dean said. "It's like Christmas morning. We are grateful for this money." According to the U.S. Justice Department, funding for 50 officers was the maximum granted to police departments nationwide. Twenty-one jurisdictions were granted enough funding to hire that maximum. More than 1,000 agencies from 54 states and U.S. territories applied for the grants, which totaled almost $1 billion in Recovery Act funding. In Tennessee, 19 agencies got grants. Memphis police received funding for 37 officers, and Jackson police received funds to hire 10 officers. Dean said he was proud that Nashville was considered worthy of the same number of officers as larger jurisdictions such as Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago. "Our proposal was based on our reduction in the crime rate," Dean said. "Many of these larger cities are seeing increases in crime." Serpas said the crime rate had been dropping in Nashville for more than a half decade, and he envisions it dropping more once the city opens the new precincts. "The smaller our footprint is within each precinct area, the better able we'll be to serve the citizens of Nashville," he said.

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