Ferriday to hire four new officers with grant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — The Ferriday Police Department will hire only four officers with a grant it has received from the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS program, Police Chief Bobby Sheppard said Thursday.

The town has received $258,723 — a $129,157 original grant and a $129,566 supplement grant — from the program, enough to hire six officers, Sheppard and town Administrative Assistant Alex Promise said Thursday.

&uot;But if we use that whole amount, that’s more we have to match. And hiring four more officers should meet our needs just fine,&uot;&160;Sheppard said. The department now has six officers plus Sheppard and one part-time officer.

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According to Promise, the grant amount includes more than $75,000 the town would have to chip in to match the federal funds.

But Dan Boulden, a Louisiana grant adviser for the COPS program in Washington, D.C., said the town can only use the funds to hire four officers anyway.

That is because, according to his records, the town received only $172,618 in grants — a $43,052 original grant and a $129,566 supplement. The town must match the original grant with $14,351 and the supplemental award with $43,189, Boulden added. Promise said the town is applying for a waiver of the supplemental grant match.

An agreement recently signed by Ferriday officials and COPS Director Thomas Frazier showed the amount to be $258,723, Promise said, showing a copy of the agreement.

Meanwhile, officers John Blunschi IV and John G. Hawkins Sr. were hired earlier this week. Sheppard said he expects to hire another officer next week and another soon after.

The COPS grants will be used to reimburse the officers’ pay.

The town’s match funds, which would come from the general fund, can be paid over the life of the grant.

Although the grants are set to expire next year, the town is requesting a three-year extension to spend the grants.