GPD Will Only Accept A Fraction of a $2.8 Million Federal Grant
The Gainesville Police Department has been granted $2.8 million by the Federal Government to hire 15 new officers. But the City is only going to accept a fraction of that money.
City Commissioners instead accepted a modified version of the grant, hiring only five new officers. Although Police Chief Tony Jones said GPD has enough officers, some of the "boots on the ground" seem to feel differently.
The City Commission doesn't think they'll have the over $1 million necessary to keep the newly hired officers in 2014, when the grant expires.
City Commissioners Jeanna Mastrodicasa and Scherwin Henry said they wish they could afford all 15, but the realities of the economy just don't allow it. Mastrodicasa said, "I think there's too many uncertainties right now for us to agree to do something and I don't wanna turn around and lay people off, particularly police officers that we'd agreed to take on."
Mayor Craig Lowe and Chief Tony Jones believe there are enough officers at GPD. But local police union president Jeff McAdams said police officers on the front lines disagree. McAdams said, "The officers on the street feel like they need more officers on the street to provide the city with adequate levels...we're not asking for more officers on the street so we can have buddies to ride around with." He also said, "We're gonna make it our mission to insure that this commission and this management staff at GPD understands what the officers on the streets are going through."
The five new officers will serve in the areas of traffic and gang control. McAdams said the traffic officers will generate revenue for the city by writing tickets, which is another reason he believes the city can afford all 15 new officers the grant would've provided.
Now that City Commissioners have approved the acceptance of the grant, the process to hire the five new officers can begin.
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