Dade City police get BJA grant

(DADE CITY, Fla.) -- For the fifth straight autumn, the Dade City Police Department will get a chunk of extra spending money, thanks to a grant from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The $22,850 grant, based on the city's annual crime figures, will be boosted by a $2,539 matching grant from the city.

Police department officials said they will spend this year's grant on a variety of projects.

About $11,000 will go toward communications center training and equipment improvements.

About $3,000 will be spent on furnishing and stocking a new crime van, with another $3,000 allotted for computer technology updates. The remaining $ 8,000 will go toward purchasing four new radio systems.

"These are the kinds of things that would be cut first from the budget," said Capt. Linda Fox. "But now we can go ahead and get this stuff all at one time. It serves as a big morale booster. It's like Christmas around here."

Police Chief Phillip Thompson agreed, saying that the grant saved city taxpayers money.

"We're just glad we don't always have to used city money for this stuff," he said.

The federal local law enforcement block grant program, which provides units of local government funds to underwrite projects to help fight crime, was created in May 1996.

Since then, the Dade City Police Department has received nearly $ 91,000 in grants from the program.

In 1996, department officials purchased a new patrol car. In 1997, they purchased the new Computer-Aided Dispatch, or CAD, system. In 1998, the department bought six laptop computers. And last year, the department got more computer upgrades as well as more weapons.

Thompson said the only dilemma with the program is that when the city's crime rates drop, so does the grant.

"It's kind of a two-edged sword," Thompson said. "You want crime to go down in your community. But the more crime you have, the more funding they give you."

No matter the amount, Thompson said he's grateful for the extra cash.

"We look forward to the grant every year," he said. "It's a nice supplement to the budget."

(iSyndicate; St. Petersburg Times; Nov. 19, 2000). Terms and Conditions: Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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