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Cape Coral police to get $164,000 from stimulus bill

By Staff | Mar 7, 2009

President Obama’s economic stimulus package will buy the Cape Coral Police Department some new gear, something the city just wouldn’t have been able to budget.
The stimulus package allots $164,000 to the department’s Justice Assistance Grants fund, money that will go towards gear for SWAT team members and crime prevention, as well as the possibility of acquiring new K-9 dogs to the police force.
Those are all things CCPD would have asked the city for as supplemental requests, but declining property-tax based revenues meant they likely wouldn’t get those items, said Deputy Chief Jay Murphy Friday.
“Over the past couple years, beginning in 2002, our funding level went from $50,000 to roughly $10,000,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the department has never seen a number higher than $50,000 to the JAC fund in any given year.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will receive somewhere around $800,000, while the Fort Myers Police Department will receive about $300,000-$400,000.
“Typically it’s allocated relative to crime rate,” Murphy said. “Because we have a relatively low crime rate, we don’t benefit as greatly as other cities do.”
The department will not use the money to hire new officers.
“We would purchase equipment as opposed to hire people, because there’s no guarantee the funds will be there next year,” Murphy said.
Additionally, “$164,000 is not going to put a lot of boots on the street,” he said.
Murphy said they would be more likely to hire new officers if they received an amount similar to the $1.2 million Columbus, Ohio received from the stimulus bill.
The city of Cape Coral faces a $33.4 million loss in revenue for the next fiscal year as property values continue their downward trend.