Town must foot COPS grant match

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2000

FERRIDAY — The Town of Ferriday will have to match a $129,566 U.S. Department of Justice grant with $43,189 in town funds, a spokesman for the department’s COPS grant program said Wednesday.

That match can be paid over the lifetime of the grant, scheduled to expire in April 2001. Town officials said they plan to lobby for a three-year extension.

When Mayor Glen McGlothin announced Tuesday that Ferriday had received the grant, he said the town would not have to match the grant with its own funds. But another review of the grant paperwork showed the town would have to match the grant, McGlothin said Wednesday.

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&uot;The town did apply for a waiver of the match requirement, but that waiver was denied&uot; in February 1999, said Dan Boulton, a spokesman for the COPS program in Washington.

Boulton did not know as of Wednesday why the waiver was denied. He did say that the program reviews such requests on a case-by-case basis and that less than 10 percent of agencies that apply for a waiver receive it.

Most of those are in cases of severe financial distress, such as when a town goes bankrupt or is declared a federal disaster area, Boulton said.

Matching funds for the grant will come from the town’s general fund, which has been bolstered by a 3/4-cent sales tax Ferriday voters passed last fall. That tax is expected to generate $360,000 a year.

The grant will be used to hire three police officers. Ferriday now has eight full-time officers and one part-time officer, in addition to Chief Bobby Sheppard, to cover a town of more than 4,200 residents. In the past, the town has had trouble finding and retaining police officers due to low pay.

And Town Administrative Assistant Alex Promise said McGlothin is expected to hire three new Ferriday police officers as early as Monday.

&uot;We’ve been given the OK to go ahead and hire the additional officers,&uot;&160;Promise said. The town only has to call the Department of Justice to get reimbursed from the grant award for the officers’ pay.

Any remaining paperwork necessary for the grant should be completed by the end of next week, Promise added.

When the COPS funds run out, Ferriday will have to pay the officers for another two years, McGlothin said.