Sparks City Council Meeting 6/8/2015 2:00:00 PMMonday, June 8, 2015 2:00 PM
Council Chambers, Legislative Bldg, 745 4th St., Sparks
General Business: 9.2
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has announced the 2015 COPS Hiring Program. Grant applications are currently being accepted by the DOJ/COPS Office through June 19, 2015. The Police Department is seeking direction from the City Council on whether or not to submit an application to the COPS Office seeking two full-time positions. Funding from the COPS Office is limited to $125,000.00 per officer for the three year period of the grant. A fourth year is expected to be fully funded by the partnering agency.
Historically, the Sparks Police Department had two Community Oriented Policing Coordinators that were initially hired through a three year grant from the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). After the grant period was complete, the Department re-organized and one of the designated coordinators was eliminated, leaving one community policing coordinator. Due to budgetary restrictions in 2007, when the one community policing coordinator retired, the position was initially left un-filled and eventually eliminated.
In 2013, the Department applied for and was un-successful in applying for five (5) COPS funded positions in a regional attempt to create a regional Community Action Officer Program with the Reno Police Department and Washoe County Sheriff's Office. The Department did not apply for any 2014 COPS funding.
The 2015 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) was announced on April 29, 2015 by the COPS Office. Each year, the COPS Office places an emphasis on target areas. "This year's grants are aligned with recommendations contained in the interim report of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which examined how to strengthen public trust and foster strong relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they protect."
I hope that you are aware that one of my focuses during my tenure as Chief is to build community trust and have the legitimacy required to serve our community. I believe that the efforts of your police department mirror the grant requirements. With our recent community involvement and participation in events like the Symposium on Race and Policing, our community is ready for direct involvement with the police department to make our city the City of Choice.
Without a directed funding source, our community involvement will be limited to the level in which we can balance the direct needs of the city and how much proactive work that can be done in the area of community policing. We have already begun to see the amount of "viewers" that are directly getting their source of information directly from us. With the increased use of social media as a culture, we have to be able to reach our citizens directly, without the filters of the media.
The Sparks Police Department would like to apply for two (2) COPS funded positions as Community Relations Officers. The function of these officers would be to coordinate to our community participation with an emphasis on developing relationships with our minority groups and the recommendations from the now final report from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Additional responsibilities would be to develop our public information reporting through traditional and social media. The Sparks Police Department is the only of the three major police departments regionally without a designated public information officer.
Funding from the Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has changed over the years. Historically, COPS funding covered all salary and benefit related expenses. In recent years, to include this grant solicitation, limitations on the grant award have been established. Funding now covers a total of $125,000.00 for the three year grant period.
Based on preliminary estimations, the first year cost of a police officer (not including start-up costs) for salary an benefits is approximately $95,000.00. The amount would increase each year with merit salary increases and may be altered based on medical insurance provided by the City. We have some flexibility in what we claim each year how the grant can be administered. For example, the City could claim up to 75% of wages and benefits for each year. That would allow the City to recuperate approximately approximately $50,000 in years and two, and $25,000 the third and final year. The City is expected to have the officers remain in their assignment for a full fourth year.
The "matching" funds for this grant were not placed in the FY16 budget. With the grant applications due in June the grant awards are not typically released until late September, near the beginning of the Federal Fiscal Year. Once awards are announced, the grant would have to be submitted for your final approval. Hiring for these positions would not be completed until the January/February Academy time frame. This would reduce the amount of funding required from the City and allow for proper budgeting for FY17 and beyond.
The funding estimates are based on entry level positions and does not include overtime. The preliminary estimates for the costs of each officer is $300,000.00 over the three year grant period. The cost to the City would be approximately $175,000.00.
Funding the FY16 portion may come from salary savings throughout the City or reduction in the ending fund balance.
The City Council may direct the Chief of Police not to apply for 2015 COPS Office Hiring Program (CHRP) grant funding.
I move to direct the Chief of Police to apply for 2015 COPS Office Hiring program funding for two officers.