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January 25, 2012

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As grant money dwindles, police chiefs fear rise in crime

Funding cuts mean COPS grants won't be easy to come by this year

By Elizabeth Bewley
Gannett Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen says his department would be "in dire straits" without the nearly $1.8 million it has received through the federal Community Oriented Policing Services program.

The program has allowed Lebanon to hire or keep 15 officers since 1995. That accounts for more than one-fifth of the city's 72-member police force.

But funding cuts mean COPS grants won't be easy to come by this year. And experts say the program, deemed wasteful by conservative critics, may soon be gone for good — a possibility that leaves Bowen and other Tennessee police chiefs fearing a rise in crime.

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