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CCPD seeking extra fed stimulus funding

By Staff | Mar 16, 2009

Pending final approval from the City Council, the Cape Coral Police Department will go after more federal stimulus dollars, having already been allotted $164,000.
The amount of funds being sought is still unknown, as is the effect any additional funds will have on the city’s beleaguered budget talks.
“The police money will be restricted to salaries and benefits,” Deputy Chief Jay Murphy told council members Monday.
That means the cost of equipment, what Murphy termed as “hardware, the accouterments,” to support any new officers paid for by stimulus dollars would be borne by the city.
Ironically, the additional stimulus funds could increase the city’s police budget which, along with the fire department budget, are the only two areas that have not been eyed for cuts in next year’s budget.
“It depends on what they get and what the stipulations are,” Councilmember Dolores Bertolini said. “If those funds don’t cover it (the cost of extra equipment), then they’ll be an increase in the budget.”
As part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law last month by President Obama, more than $4 billion was provided for law enforcement and public safety.
The $164,000 already destined for the CCPD will be spent on SWAT team gear, crime prevention and K-9 dogs.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office will get $769,000, and the Fort Myers Police Department will receive $398,000 in stimulus funds.
A formula using violent crime statistics and population numbers was used to determine each law enforcement agency’s allotment.
Bertolini said it is unfair to penalize the Cape for doing a better job.
“This is where you get punished for being a safe city,” she said.
Council members are scheduled to vote next week on whether to allow the CCPD to submit grant applications for stimulus funds.
The applications are due by May 15.