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Joyce Endee

BPD recieves $250,000 federal grant

October 06, 2010
BERLIN — The Berlin Police Department will get almost $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to hire additional officers, as part of a federal program to improve community policing.

"Given the financial difficulties facing the North Country, we will put this funding to good use," Police Chief Peter Morency said in a press release. "It will help us to keep our community as safe as we possibly can."

The $249,102 from the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program will cover the cost of hiring new and rehiring experienced officers.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office announced the grant last week.

"New Hampshire law enforcement officers put their lives at risk day in and day out to protect our families and our communities," Senator Shaheen said in a press release. "These funds will ensure that our police forces remain robust, while simultaneously putting New Hampshire citizens back to work."

The program will fund part or all of the salary and benefits for officers for the next three years. It covers the entry-level salaries and benefits for newly-hired, full-time sworn officers, and the cost of rehiring officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off, as a result of local budget cuts, according to Senator Shaheen's press release.

The police department has been facing increasing pressure in recent years as city council after city council has worked to level fund the department. Negotiated salary and benefit increases have squeezed the department's budget from underneath, while the council's efforts have increased pressure from the other side.

This past year budget negotiations were tense between the city council and the department, with the council looking for $150,000 in cuts, which the department said would force layoffs. The department also said the $150,000 in cuts would lead to the loss of $175,000 in grants, and they presented a list of services that would have to go. This grant should fill some of that gap.

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