Stimulus Grants for Sacramento Law Enforcement: City Wins, County Loses

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel was talking to one of his deputies last night. He was reflecting about his year-and-a-half as the city’s top cop.
Braziel: “Since I took over as chief, all we’ve done is cut. It’s always been, bad news, bad news, bad news. And last night, I said, all I want to do before I retire is actually hire people.”
Now, he’ll get to do exactly that. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a billion dollars in grants for law enforcement agencies throughout the country. A hundred agencies in California and a thousand nationwide will get to hire new personnel. Sacramento gets nearly $10 million for 35 new police officers. Braziel says he hopes to have them on the streets within the next year – and they’ll work where they’re needed the most.
Braziel: “These folks are all going to patrol. We can’t expect to fill any of the specialty unit positions. We’ve gotta keep patrol fully staffed.”
Stockton, Modesto and Vallejo are also getting money, as are San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. In Nevada, Reno and Sparks will, too. But out of the 7,000 law enforcement agencies that applied nationwide, the vast majority lost out – including the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.
MacGlashan: “When I got the news this morning about not receiving the stimulus funding, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.”
That’s Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.
MacGlashan: “I think that counties were given unequal treatment, and quite frankly, the funding seems to have been more directed based on political purposes than actual need.”
MacGlashan spoke seconds before the board approved final layoff notices for 130 sheriff’s deputies to erase the department’s budget deficit. And it could have been worse, had supervisors not already saved 70 deputies’ jobs.  But Tuesday, the board wouldn’t budge on the rest of the layoffs. Sheriff John McGinness says that means he’ll lose specialty units like air support, narcotics and problem oriented policing.
McGinness: “Basic patrol car staffing will be back to what it’s been. But they have no bench in this model. That’s why we were so hopeful for the federal stimulus money, because with that, we would have been able to bring some of those specialty positions back into play.”
Instead, McGinness is left wondering why the Sacramento Police Department won a stimulus grant – and his department did not.