Cops Won’t Get Grant

The federal stimulus funding grant upon which the Santa Barbara City Police Department was counting to maintain existing patrol levels will not be awarded as hoped; as a result, police administrators are preparing a list of possible budget cuts. City police had hoped the grant would provide $580,000 to fund four full-time street officers, but last week, the department learned that Santa Barbara did not qualify for the first tier of the federal grant awards. “There’s a second tier and we’re on that list, but we don’t know how much that means,” explained assistant chief Frank Mannix. “But it won’t be anywhere near the $580,000 we budgeted for.” Mannix said the department will have to cut some programs in order to protect necessary ones. Meanwhile, Mannix said, the department is down seven positions due to attrition. Those, he said, can’t be filled until next January because Ventura County’s September police academy was cancelled. Given that a typical cop costs $120,000 a year in salaries and benefits, those vacancies should save the department money. Additionally, the City Council inserted $1.8 million in unappropriated reserves into last year’s budget, in part to handle such contingencies. Ultimately, however, what cuts may befall the Police Department will be up to the City Council.

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