The Clarion-Ledger, 5/20/8

The Jackson Police Department apparently will miss out on about $12.5 million in federal grant money meant to pay the salaries of new police officers.

Valerie Nevels, assistant chief administrative officer for the city, said Monday that the city has spent about $1.5 million of a $14.8 million COPS Universal Hire grant awarded in 1995. Last year, the city rushed to hire enough recruits to meet a 450-officer threshold to keep the grant.

The city met that goal – hiring enough to bring the force to about 465 officers – but Nevels said the grant will only pay the salaries of the approximately 15 officers above the grant cutoff for the next three years. Nevels estimates that’s about $750,000 total between now and the end of the grant, leaving the bulk of the grant unspent.

Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance, who has been asked to bring order to the department’s $21 million in grants, said that is not the way he understood the COPS grant to work.