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Published: Tuesday, 7/28/2009

Toledo to receive nearly $7.15 million to hire 31 officers

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Police Department was awarded nearly $7.15 million Tuesday by the Obama administration to hire 31 officers.

Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Department of Justice COPS Office awarded $1 billion in Recovery Act funding through its COPS Hiring Recovery Program to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to create and preserve nearly 5,000 law enforcement positions nationwide.

Seventy-five Toledo police were laid off May 1 by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to address the city's multi-million dollar general fund budget deficit. Twenty-nine were rehired on July 1 with state and other federal grants.

The aid is just a fraction of what police departments across the country had hoped to get. For every $1 to be delivered, another $7 in requests will go unanswered under the grant program, Community Oriented Policing Services, commonly called COPS.

Mr. Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder appeared in Philadelphia on Tuesday to announce the grant awards.

The roughly 1,000 places getting COPS aid also include: Mobile, Ala., Mesa, Ariz., Tulare County, Calif., Monroe County, Fla., the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Baltimore, Providence, R.I., Salt Lake City, and Huntington, W.Va.

Toledo city officials applied for nearly $34.6 million in federal stimulus money to rehire 75 laid off police officers and to hire an additional 75 officers but were already informed that would not happen.

Police Chief Michael Navarre told The Blade on July 9 that the city could expect enough money to hire 31 officers and pay them for three years.

Mr. Finkbeiner unsuccessfully asked Mr. Biden to intervene.

In a letter to the vice president, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), Mr. Finkbeiner, Chief Navarre, and Dan Wagner, president of the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, urged Mr. Biden to assist them.

The letter, on Miss Kaptur's letterhead and signed by the four officials, was presented to the vice president by the congressman's staff.

"With the assistance of Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funding and other funds, we were able to bring 29 officers back to work," the letter said. "However, we still have 46 officers laid off. Currently, we have 564 officers working, which amounts to 1.7 officers per 1,000 population - one of the lowest rates in the country for an urban area."

About 7,000 state and local agencies applied for aid under the COPS program that is part of the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year. Of those, only about 1,000 were approved. Each state is entitled to at least $5 million in COPS money.

The Akron Police Department was awarded $143,176 to hire one officer.

Dayton was awarded $5,602,569 to hire 21 officers.

Canton was awarded $1,412,392 to hire eight officers.

Cincinnati was awarded $13,570,400 to hire 50 officers.

Cleveland was awarded $11,793,750 to hire 50 officers.

Columbus was awarded $12,742,800 to hire 50 officers.

Fostoria was awarded $165,801 to hire one officer.

Lima was awarded $787,336 to hire four officers.

Lorain was awarded $931,410 to hire five officers.

Put-in-Bay was awarded $163,695 to hire one officer.

Youngstown was awarded $1,895,778 to hire nine officers.



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