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Police Grants Article

June 28, 2004

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Pascagoula, Mississippi Police Seek Public Input On Grants

LYNN LOFTON
Associated Press

The Pascagoula Police Department is looking for residents' input before applying for a federal grant for $17,000.

Public Relations Officer Ronnie Castille said a public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. today at the police station.

Past grants have been used to buy equipment and vehicles for officers and to pay for overtime during high crime periods, typically holidays.

"The amount of all grants has been cut way down," Castille said. "We've been reduced to $17,000 and we may not get anything next year."

Community Development Director Elizabeth Bensey said the amount of the federal grant gets smaller each year because of smaller appropriations by Congress. Only $115 million is being distributed nationally this year, down from $260 million last year.

"I think we've made significant progress in reducing crime by utilizing these funds for higher visibility of officers during high crime times and with the purchases we've made," Bensey said.

She said that usually few people attend the public hearings and the city would like to have more participation.