Burien Police Department Gets $375,000 COPS Grant from Feds, Saving 3 Positions

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The City of Burien received $375,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), saving three positions within the Burien Police Department.

The positions will be filled by recent military veterans.

COPS grants were awarded to over 220 cities and counties, with the goal of creating or saving around 800 law enforcement positions.

“The grants will fund over 600 new law enforcement positions and save an additional 200 positions recently lost or in jeopardy of being cut due to local budget cuts,” reads an announcement. “All new law enforcement positions funded in the COPS 2012 Hiring Program must be filled by recent military veterans who have served at least 180 days since September 11, 2001.”

The COPS Hiring Program makes grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years.

“This new opportunity for veterans is a commitment to support those who are coming home from their tour of duty,” said Bernard Melekian, COPS Office Director. “We sincerely hope this effort encourages our veterans to continue to protect and serve the United States through new law enforcement careers.”

Along with the pledge to hire military veterans, grantees for the 2012 Hiring Program were selected based on fiscal need and local crime rates. An additional factor in the selection process was each agency’s strategy to address specific problems such as increased homicide rates and gun violence.

“Our mission is to promote public safety through community policing, and that involves applying the resources available to areas with both legitimate need and doable solutions,” stated Melekian. “We also remain focused on helping agencies maintain their level of service by protecting law enforcement positions recently lost or threatened to be cut.”

The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $12 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 124,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.

Here are the Washington state-based grants (number of positions / amount awarded):

  • Burien: 3 / $375,000
  • Clallam County Sheriff’s Department: 2 / $250,000
  • Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office: 6 / $750,000
  • Marcus P.D.: 1 / $157,841
  • Northport P.D.: 1 / $157,840
  • Port Townsend P.D.: 1 / $125,000
  • Stevens County Sheriff’s Dept.: 1 / $157,843
  • Tacoma P.D.: 15 / $4,957,620

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19 Responses to “Burien Police Department Gets $375,000 COPS Grant from Feds, Saving 3 Positions”
  1. Erik Robbins says:

    Awesome news!!

  2. mike says:

    Is the grant saving 3 Burien Police jobs or adding 3?

    • ATKMH says:

      “saving three positions within the Burien Police Department”

    • Shari says:

      I have to agree with MIke– I’m a little confused by two sentences at the beginning of the article: will the grant saving existing filled positions, preventing layoffs, or will it fill proposed but as yet unfilled positions, thereby adding more officers? Either way, it’s great news and I hope there’s a plan for making it sustainable beyond the three-year grant period and through some revenue source other than grant renewals and soft money. It would also be great if there was an incentive for these folks to live here in Burien.

      “…saving three positions within the Burien Police Department. The positions will be filled by recent military veterans.”

  3. Jay says:

    So, Burien was set to lay off 3 officers? We don’t have the funds to provide sufficient police protection without help from the Feds. The grant is only for three years. What then? Hey Joey, you seem to have all the answers. Explain to all of us educated taxpayers how we can afford to take on White Center when we can’t even pay our own bills.

  4. William Forest says:

    Kudos to Burien for receiving a three-year grant to hire three police officers!
    However, the 6/25/2012 Highline Times article quotes a Department Of Justice(DOJ) press release which states, ” Along with the pledge to hire military veterans, grantees for the 2012 Hiring Program were selected based on fiscal need and local crime rates. An additional factor in the selection process was each agency’s strategy to address specific problems such as increased homicide rates and gun violence.

    It appears that in order to secure the grant monies, the City suggested in their application that the local crime rates in Burien were high enough to be eligible for the funding of additional police. However, the City Manager continues to tell Burien citizens that the crime rates in Burien are lower than surrounding cities and it is only a perception that Burien has a crime problem. Which is the truth?? Who is getting the wool pulled over their eyes?? Also, Mr. Martin keeps telling Burien citizens that his current funding model is just right and the same model should be applied to Area Y/White Center. If the model is just right, how come Burien has had to apply for grant funding for more police?

  5. FED UP in Burien says:

    This is great news! As their first assignment can you send them to get rid of the drug dealer living at the [ADDRESS REDACTED]? So far the police have been unable to get rid of him even tho they have been provided everything from his description (large black male with very deep voice), location (see above), to vehicle ([DESCRIPTION/LIC. PLATE REDACTED] which currently has rear passenger windows broken out, oh and also drives a small white car if he thinks he’s being watched that he parks in the back where the garages are). His ‘customers’ park on 155th or at the nearby dental offices and usually one person stays in the car while one person walks up the small drive/parking spot area on 155th side between the buildings to the 3rd door on the left side. They also come and go on foot usually carrying backpacks. This activity goes on at all hours of the day and night. I get treated as an annoyance when I call to report the activity. Car break-ins and thefts are increasing in the area so that these people can pay for their drugs. This building was raided a month or so ago but they still didn’t arrest the most obvious drug dealer in the building! The police know who he is because he gets in frequent domestic disputes with his ‘girlfriend’ that will stand in the street screaming “Daddy! Don’t leave me daddy!” while his tires throw gravel in her face. A few minutes later (presumably after he’s hid his stash) he comes back to deal with her and wait for the police. Nobody ever gets arrested, nothing ever changes. We, the neighbors, sit on our balconies and watch the ridiculous goings on like it’s a circus!

  6. lori says:

    Because, in order to be considered for the grant, (per the DOJ website), the city had to prove that it was engaged in “partnerships” within the community. Interesting timing…

  7. Joey Martinez says:

    I’m not sure what the city of Burien put in for, but at my time at the City of Auburn this is what I learned about how these types of grants work.

    These types of grants come out all the time and the city probably has applied for dozens of them. Some of them have “poison pills” where if you get this grant you disqualify yourself for another type of grant.

    (I don’t know how this particular grant works but I am transcribing what I’ve learned previously into what probably happened.)

    Burien applies for this grant and we get approval on the condition that they fund a veteran’s position. The Burien Police looks at its roster and finds that 3 police officers are veterans. We qualify for the grant and these 3 officers are no longer on the General fund.

    At the same there are probably 3 other officers who are on some other grant that is expiring. They go off that grant and go back onto the general fund. It’s an even swap.

    These grants are always coming out for various reasons, even in this recession, and many cities supplement public safety in this way.

    It is a savings to the Burien Tax payer to agressively go after these types of grants. The reason I learned about how grants work is because while I was at the City of Auburn the Auburn Police Department got a technology grant and we got Digital Cameras (they were the NEW big thing back then) and a funded position to manage them. I trained the person funded by the position who was a 12 year veteran.

    Being curious, I asked how this new position was filled by an existing person. I learned about the poison pill, and the expiring grant for another position. I learned something I never knew would come in handy… until now.

    If you dare, and want to learn more, go to http://www.grants.gov

    Joey Martinez

    • Shari says:

      Thanks for the educated guesses, Joey. Your take on it seems plausible . I’ve spent a few decades in the grant trenches in higher ed research and in the not for profit sector and I definitely get the poison pill and shuffling funding sources for existing positions issues you bring up. For those reasons, though, I can also get a little concerned about the possibility of one a mindset in which the fact that one or more particular grants have been awarded several times to fund something turns into an expectation that that will continue as almost an entitlement and budgets and planning move forward with that source being treated as a given instead of the exceedingly soft money that it really is. I’ve seen disastrous effects both in academia and in the nonprofit sector arising from that shift from “we can’t count on this getting re upped so we’ll plan conservatively” to “we’ve gotten this 10 times in a row, so we can count on it being there.” Especially true when considering federal funding sources in a tough economy and election year shifts in priorities. I’m grateful that there are people diligently writing up the bazillion proposals they must be writing up to get the few that yield grant monies, and I’m especially pleased that they’ve won an award that should get returning vets into the workforce in family wage jobs that capitalize on their experience (though I’m not sure this use of those monies is getting any new vets back into the workforce). Just wanting there to be a commitment to not relying on grant revenues for what are key pieces of public safety budgets.

  8. Mike says:

    Thnks for the info Joey. The question remains, are they hiring three additional officers? Or putting the savings into the general fund? Or? I for one would like to see more transparency from the city.

    • Joey Martinez says:

      This will sound confusing, and it is government we’re talking about, but and I don’t know the exact details… Both and Neither!

      Technically, probably saving 3 jobs. But at the same time those three jobs have probably been funded by some type of grant for a while so a continuing savings to the general fund. This wasn’t a city press release, it was a DOJ press release. Maybe we could convince da blawg (accents don’t come through very well in type) to ask for an explanation from the city!?!

      Joey Martinez

      • John Poitras says:

        Why don’t you ask them Joey? You appear to be close with Mr Martin. See if you can extract some transparency from him.

      • William Forest says:

        Yeah Joey.. As a big supporter of Martins Kids and Cops initiative you are in a unique position to squeeze an answer out of Martin and as you state ,your job at the city of Auburn has given you the framework of what a Federal grant requires how about it.
        Match your rhetoric with your actions.

  9. btowner says:

    Sounds like a double dip for the city

  10. mike says:

    According to Chief Kimerer, Burien has 4-6 officers. N. Highline has 1 storefront, plus 2 regular officers. That, according to him, will stay the same if annexation is approved.

    How many officers are needed? Who decides how many are needed? I know Seattle said around 15?

    That’s why transparency is nice. You don’t have to figure out how to hide stuff.

    Area Y Mike

  11. FED UP in Burien says:

    For Burien is it 4-6 on duty at a time or 4-6 employed? Because if it’s the latter I would think a more precise answer could be given. Is it 4? Or is it 6? If it’s 4 and they were relying on the grant money to come thru to keep 3 of them then that is terrifying to me.

  12. fred says:

    While this grant seems to be good news on the surface, the bad news is that we had to prove that Burien had very serious crime problems to get it. According to Mike Martin we don’t have these problems. So where is the truth in what this guy says?
    At times I wonder if Burien is using its very expensive police force for the best purposes.
    This weekend I saw the police chasing a dog on 146th and trying to get it in the police car. Also, I saw them chasing a dog on 132nd trying to collect a dog. Now it was my understanding that this was the job of CARES. CARES is supposed to be available for 24/7 services for animal collection, according to their contract. Clearly our police are needed to more important services such as patroling and investigaing crime. So why did I see the police acting like dog catchers? I mentioned this to one of my friends and he said he has observed the police doing the dog catcher thing too. I wonder how much of our police and public works finances are supplementing CARES. Every time the Council asks to see the complete finances of CARES, they are put off by Mike Martin. Why can’t we see the clear finances on this group? But then we can’t seem to get the clear finances of our police model or police staffing either. So the police model does not seem to be as adequate as Mike Martin has tired to tell us so that he can sell the same broken police model approach as the model that should be used in Area Y/White Center also. And Joey, please do not give us another one of your canned parrot answers about how your phony research can explain away these moving target discrepencies of how this police money will be used-from your vast body of experience in Auburn or at Seattle City Light. It would be nice just to get the clear un-fudged budget facts from Mike Martin-just for once.

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