Law enforcement to receive stimulus money, too
posted Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 @ 9:11 pm
Three local law enforcement agencies will get a slice of $35.2 million in funding from the economic stimulus package President Obama signed into law last month.
Locally, Monroe will get the biggest chunk in stimulus package funding at $238,066, followed by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office at $171,000 and the city of West Monroe at $46,228.
Money will be used by police departments to support their "efforts to prevent and control crime and improve the criminal justice system," according to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who announced the funding this week.
Ouachita Parish Sheriff Royce Toney said local law enforcement agencies do not know how the money can be used.
"We will have to look at it and see if it's strictly for equipment or other things," Toney said. "When we find out what it can be used for, we will have a staff meeting to see how it can be used to best protect the citizens of Ouachita Parish."
"We haven't seen the check yet, but we're going to look into this to see where it would be most effective," Toney added.
West Monroe Police Chief Christopher Elg said funding that's distributed by Congress through an appropriation like the stimulus package would be used by law enforcement agencies to buy equipment.
He said the city of West Monroe would like to use this funding to finish outfitting the department's police cruisers with in-car camera equipment.
The West Monroe Police Department began outfitting its patrol cars several years ago with in-car camera equipment with other grant funding.
"We are considering these in-car cameras to finish up our fleet, but this money has to be spent on a particular area and there are guidelines," Elg said. So, it will depend on if this is an acceptable expenditure."
The Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, will distribute the funding to the states.
Funds will be distributed to municipalities and parish governments throughout the state by the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.
Hal Turner, executive director of the Louisiana Sheriff's Association, said these funds will be "essential for the success of law enforcement in our dealing with the escalating problem of crime."