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$1.25 million grant to keep KDPS staffing levels up for 3 years
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Help is on the way for a west Michigan public safety department struggling to keep enough officers on the streets.
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is being awarded $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Justice.
With financial troubles for the city looming, Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said his department applied for the grant in May.
You certainly look out for where those opportunities may exist to alleviate those pressures we feel, Hadley said.
Hadley said some of that pressure has been relieved finding out they've been awarded the grant of more than a million dollars.
The money is coming from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services, known as COPS.
It stabilizes us at 210, something we can anticipate and rely on and adjust our needs to meet the needs of the community, Hadley said.
COPS will keep 10 officers on the force for three years; eight current and two new hires.
10 officers could mean whole or half of your investigative unit. It could be your community police officers. It could be your narcotics unit. It could be administrative staff, Hadley said.
Mayor Bobby Hopewell said this will help give peace of mind to the city as it looks for ways to reduce a $7 million deficit.
Every department in the city including public safety as had to reduce and we're still looking at that. It will help mitigate some of that but it's not going to solve our challenge, Hopewell said.
Hopewell said the funding structure for public safety needs to change, suggesting sharing revenue and services with all of Kalamazoo County.
We have to maintain or the challenge of those crimes rates will creep, Hopewell said.
Hadley said in the last 5 years, hes seen Kalamazoo lose 39 officers.
At 210, I hate would hate to see us go any lower, Hadley said.
He said the money will start coming to the department in January 2014.