Veazie councilors to reconsider federal police hiring grant

Posted Nov. 06, 2010, at 12:17 a.m.

VEAZIE, Maine — Town councilors will reconsider their recent 3-2 vote to turn down the $156,747 federal grant the town’s Police Department was awarded late last month to hire an additional full-time officer, during a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

Veazie was among nine Maine law enforcement agencies that received word on Sept. 30 that they had been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program.

The program provides funds to create and preserve law enforcement jobs. It provides three years of full funding for approved entry-level salaries and benefits for newly hired, full-time, sworn officer positions and for rehiring officers who have been laid off or are scheduled to be laid off because of budget cuts.

Agencies receiving COPS funds are required to retain the new or refilled position at their own cost for the fourth year.

When the grant awards were announced, Leonard said he hoped to use the money to add a fifth full-time officer but that the grant was subject to council approval.

During a meeting on Oct. 25, however, the councilors voted 3-2 not to accept the grant. Since then, Town Manager Bill Reed and council Chairman Rod Hathaway said they have fielded numerous calls and comments from residents unhappy with the decision.

Leonard said he was taken aback by the vote because the council had authorized him to pursue COPS grants in the most recent two rounds of applications.

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