The Apopka City Council gave unanimous consensus at its workshop meeting yesterday to advance the efforts of claiming a federal grant to hire five additional officers for the Apopka Police Department. The grant is being offered through the 2016 COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The estimated amount of Federal funds to be awarded over the three year grant period is $625,000; the local match to the City of Apopka will be $339,800 over the same period.
The APD was already scheduled to hire five additional officers in the 2016-17 budget, but the CHP grant is in addition to those new hires. APD Chief Michael McKinley said the additional officers could be absorbed into future plans to increase the APD police force closer to a goal of three officers per 1,000 residents. Currently the APD is at 2.36 per 1,000.
According to McKinley's presentation to the City Council, the CHP award recipients must retain all sworn officer positions funded under the 2016 CHP award for a minimum of 12 months following the 36-month Federal funding period. The retained positions must be added to the law enforcement budget with local funds, over and above the number of locally-funded positions that would have existed in the absence of the award. Award recipients may not reduce their locally funded number of sworn officer positions during the three-year CHP award period as a direct result of receiving CHP funding. Under CHP, the non-supplanting requirement means that an award recipient receiving CHP funds to hire a new officer position must hire the additional position on or after the official award start date, above its current budgeted (funded) level of sworn officer positions.
Commissioner Doug Bankson reflected the thoughts of the Council when he summed up the grant as a decision to be made swiftly.
"The bottom line is this is something (hiring additional police officers) we have to add, but if we wait we lose $625,000 in federal funds," he said. "This allows us to accelerate the plan to hire officers."
"Alright I think that sums it up," said Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer. "The consensus of the Council is to move forward."
The grant is scheduled to be voted on at the City Council's next meeting. The deadline to accept is December 20th.