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Equipment, Officer Due Grant Money Aids Police
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Federal funding will be coming to Escalon via the 2010 COPS Hiring Program, CHP, in the form of a grant award to fund one officer position.

Escalon City Council members got the welcome news at the recent council session, with Police Chief Jim Shaw announcing that the grant covers a three-year period.

An estimated $273,700 will be provided over the three years.

"The one stipulation is that the city continue to fund this position for a period of 12 months after the three-year period," Shaw told the council. "I'm hoping to fast track this, hoping by January we'll have somebody on board."

With funding in place for the initial three years, Shaw said the department can plan for the fourth year and set money aside each year to cover the fourth one.

Shaw added that the grant application was put in motion by former chief Doug Dunford.

"I refreshed it," Shaw explained. "We came in above the threshold for scoring."

Pleased with the ability to add another officer to the department, Shaw said they will begin advertising as soon as possible.

"We're optimistic," he said of getting a solid field of applicants. "There's a tremendous amount of qualified guys out there."

Many departments have been forced to lay off officers during tight budget times and Shaw said this could be an ideal opportunity for one of those officers to get back in the workforce.

Council members accepted the grant and also approved an additional allocation for the police department, accepting Shaw's recommendations for use of the SLESF, the Supplemental Law Enforcement Services Funds.

The money is allocated among cities, counties and special districts that provide law enforcement services, with a minimum allocation of $100,000, Shaw noted in his report to the staff.

"I am requesting to allocate these funds to meet the needs of the city by providing resources to the police department," Shaw said, noting that there were some specific areas of need.

Rough estimates for use of the funds include $52,000 to augment the School Resources Officer position, $16,000 to finalize the installation of MDT's, Mobile Data Terminals, in the police cars, another $12,000 for on-board video cameras in police vehicles, training, accessories and purchase of patrol rifles listed at $10,000 and $13,000 for purchase of video cameras to provide additional video surveillance at the McHenry Avenue police station. The SLESF money will also include $3,000 being carried over from the 2009-2010 allocation.

Shaw said many of the purchases of equipment will enhance the officers' ability to do their jobs.

"We also want to get technology into the hands of the officers," he said of being able to utilize the MDT's for in-field license and records checks.

Council members approved the use of the SLESF funds.

"I'm very pleased with the support the city council has given this department to get some things in place that were needed," said Shaw.

He's also pleased that the city has opted to drop the 'interim' from his title, extending his contract to serve as chief for the foreseeable future.

"I feel a little more grounded in what I'm going to do," he said of working with officers to continue upgrading the department.