December 6, 2021

$125K grant to bolster city police patrol

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Cortland Police Department officer Andy San Jule speaks with SUNY Cortland students on Main Street in this file photo. A $125,000 Community Oriented Policing Services Grant will help the department hire a new officer to walk the beat on Main Street and boost community ties.

City police received a federal grant Monday to fund the hiring of a new officer whose duty will be to walk the beat on Main Street and become immersed in the community.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced$119 million in grant funding Monday that was divided among 184 law enforcement agencies throughout the country, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

The Cortland Police Department received $125,000 from the Community Oriented Policing Services Grant, said Chief F. Michael Catalano.

The grant provides funding directly to law enforcement agencies for the hiring of officers in an effort to increase community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts, according to the release.

The department already plans to hire a new officer who will take the position of a veteran patrol officer on staff so that more experienced officer can move to a full-time downtown beat position, Catalano said.

In recent years, due to staffing changes at the department, it has been difficult to have a consistent officer walking a beat downtown, Catalano said.

Officers regularly walk a beat on Main Street a couple of hours a day throughoutthe week. This grant will enable the city to make the beat full time.

The time it will take to have a new officer on patrol depends on whether the officer needs to go through the police academy or if the person is a transfer from another department who already has training, said city police Lt. David Guerrera.

If the new officer needs to go through the academy, it could take around 40 weeks untilthe officer is ready to begin patrol, he said. If the person isa transfer, then beginningpatrol will take around six weeks of on-the-job-training, Guerrera said.

The grant will stretch the $125,000 over a four-year period to help pay for the new position, Catalano said. After the four years are up, the position will go before the city Common Council to decide whether to keep it or not, he said.

The department applied for the grant in August and received notice it was being awarded on Monday, Catalano said.