Money to hire officers awarded Federal grant will help finance neighborhood patrols

February 04, 1996|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County has been awarded $771,000 in federal money to put 12 new police officers on the street this year.

The money, part of the Community Oriented Policing Services program (COPS) pays nearly half of each officer's salary and benefits for three years. The county pays the remainder and a one-time expense of $37,000 each to buy patrol cars and other equipment for the officers.

The addition of 12 officers, who will patrol neighborhoods, won't be a huge increase in the county's police force of more than 600. But it is the third time the county has received federal money to increase the size of its police force.

A COPS grant last year funded 12 officers who are training at the police academy in Davidsonville. They will be on the streets by about April, said David G. Shipley, senior police spokesman.

Another officer hired with COPS money already is at work.

After the first three years, the county must pay for the officers' salaries and benefits. The county plans to absorb the additional costs as part of County Executive John G. Gary's annual increase in the number of public safety employees, said Lisa Ritter, Mr. Gary's spokeswoman.

The purpose of COPS grants is to provide more officers and equipment to city and county police departments nationwide. When they are awarded grant money, police departments are required to give the COPS office a detailed description of the community policing program they intend to implement.

The Anne Arundel County community policing program is aimed at combating recurring problems in neighborhoods.

ead,1 Captain Shipley said the department needs more police to give officers time to work with neighbors.

"We've got to give them some time to handle these problems," he said, noting that calls for police service increase as population grows.

Charles Miller, press secretary for the COPS office, said a department can begin hiring officers and training them as soon as it receives an official letter notifying it of the award.

Captain Shipley said the Arundel department is is waiting for a letter about the grant.

He said that the county police will screen applicants next month for a training session to begin in October and that the new officers should be in neighborhoods by April 1997.

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