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Federal grant helps local police departments
Reynoldsburg will order two police cruisers and the federal government will pay the bill.
The city qualified for $63,838 from a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) and did not know it until a few days before the April 1 deadline to apply.
When President Barack Obama visited Columbus in March to attend a police cadet graduation, he announced funding for Central Ohio law enforcement. Local media published a list of what dollar amounts each municipality would receive.
The cities did not receive notice, but some like Bexley, saw their names in the newspaper and began the process of trying to collect their money.
Bexley planned to spend the $20,480 for which it qualified to purchase a pistol simulator to train officers in the use of deadly force.
Columbus and Franklin County applied for their funding first, but the federal government told them that it did not want to process individual applications for all the cities in Franklin County. The federal government, instead, wanted one collaborative application submitted by the county.
The county notified all the cities that it would apply on behalf of everybody involved. This was good news to Reynoldsburg, which otherwise may not have known about the grant.
However, Bexley officials disliked the new process that placed their money in the stewardship of the Franklin County Office of Homeland Security and Justice Programs (OHS&JLP).
Cathy Crandall, director of OHS&JLP, said her agency would not keep any city's money.
Bexley's concerns arose after misunderstanding the "poorly written federal bureaucratic language" of the application, Crandall said. "It is legally accurate, but reads rough."
The county told the cities they could rewrite the language and submit the form, Crandall said.
The Reynoldsburg police cruisers will replace two that the department plans to retire. The police also retired two cruisers in 2008 because they became too costly to maintain, but they will not be replaced due to budget concerns, Acting Safety/Service Director Pam Boratyn said.
"We just gave up on money for cruisers, then we learned about (the JAG grant) and boom, boom we readied the grant application," Boratyn said.
All the cities met the grant deadline despite the two-day turn-around and the questionable wording, Crandall said.
Reynoldsburg learned about it "Friday, I read it on Monday," then submitted by the Wednesday deadline, Boratyn said.
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