Friday, July 10, 2009

Bad News for Oakland on Federal Police Grant

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM

The City of Oakland, which was depending heavily on a federal grant to avoid laying off 140 police officers, will receive no more than about one-third of the money it requested. That means the city could end up laying off more than 100 cops, or will have to make further deep cuts to city services. According to the Trib, federal officials have capped the amount of money each city can receive under the grant program, saying it will fund no more than 50 cops per department. Oakland had asked for $67 million over three years to pay for 140 officers. But the federal cap means the city will receive a maximum of about $24 million over three years. And Oakland will be lucky to get that much because the feds have received an overwhelming number of requests from other cities. The city could find out how much it will get by the end of the month.

The bad news for Oakland apparently prompted Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Barbara Boxer to simultaneously introduce bills yesterday that would provide additional federal funding for cities with the highest violent crime rates. Oakland falls into that category, finishing fifth nationwide in 2007, the last year in which full ranking data is available. But the legislation likely will be difficult to get through Congress, because other representatives may balk at giving large sums to only a handful of cities.

In the end, the bad federal cop grant news could force the city to lay off more than 150 police officers. If the grant only finances 50 officers, then the city may have to lay off 90 cops. But as the Express has reported, laying off any cops will force the city to also cut 63 Measure Y police officers because of the way the measure is worded.

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