The Sierra Madre City Council approved the “Citizens Option for Public Safety, Supplemental Law Enforcement Service Funds” (COPS/SLESF) for the police department to use at the Tuesday night meeting.
The funding is provided on a “year-to-year” basis from the State of California’s budget, but there are specific stipulations on how the money can be used. In particular, the funds must be utilized to support “front of line” police operations and they cannot replace funds that are normally used for daily police operations. The Sierra Madre Police Department received $100,000 from the State of California for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The Sierra Madre Police Department noted that the funds could be used to support a few ongoing programs that are beneficial for the community; these programs include overtime for special bike patrols and crime prevention programs.
They also believe that upgrades in the current computer network and improvements in new technology will allow the department to confront the challenges of modern police work. Expenditures from the COPS grant funding will include salaries for police officers who work the bicycle patrol or special overtime assignments ($25,000), helicopter services ($10,000), video recording equipment ($22,000), maintenance of the Online Parking Permit Program and purchase of Handheld Ticket Writers ($15,000), Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)/Records Management System (RMS) and technology system maintenance ($20,000), as well as miscellaneous items like safety pamphlets and school safety documents that will be utilized for community safety presentations ($8,000).
“My concern is that the video recording has become an integral part of our program–if we don’t give cops money, that is something hard to go back without,” said John Capoccia, a Sierra Madre City Council Member. “I was excited to hear about the program [the Sierra Madre Police Department] is proposing, it’s really appropriate use."
There is also $103,000 left from funds from both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 fiscal years. Police Chief Larry Giannone stated that the funds had been earmarked for the creation of a new Community Service Officer program and the proposal for the program would be brought forward in the future. The funds would be able to hire two part-time employees for fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2012-2014.
“The idea behind the program is, number one, get an officer who would get into schools – it’s our number one priority, we’ve been asked to get more involved with the schools,” Giannone said.