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Gilroy
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February 1, 2023

Great news: $1 million grant to hire more Gilroy police officers

Good news. Gilroy has been awarded a federal grant that will pay
for three police officers for three years with only a 25 percent
cost string attached. The city will have to commit to hiring the
officers for four years, thus picking up the tab for the final
year.
Good news. Gilroy has been awarded a federal grant that will pay for three police officers for three years with only a 25 percent cost string attached. The city will have to commit to hiring the officers for four years, thus picking up the tab for the final year.

It’s a no-brainer to accept the grant as long as the attached federal strings don’t include a prohibitive staffing level issue. When Gilroy applied for the grant, it had more officers than the current number which has been reduced by layoffs and will be reduced further by retirements. Hopefully, the feds will see that for what it is: a necessary evil.

The cost for the fourth year of keeping the three officers on at city expense is approximately $414,000. Gilroy’s Council should take the Community Oriented Policing Hiring Recovery Program money, and do so gladly.

Since Gilroy received less than half of what it applied for, keeping the school resource officer position, occupied so effectively by Cherie Somavia, is a work in progress. The school district had pledged a significant sum to keep officers on campus, but the dynamic has changed with the award amount and the future is unclear.

Police Chief Denise Turner will have to work out what’s best for public safety, but having an officer on the Gilroy High and Christopher High campuses is a big deal. An officer’s eyes, ears and presence is invaluable in understanding gang tensions, drug trends and crimes against the student community.

Hopefully, Gilroy can find a way to keep the resource officer and make sense of the very tight staffing when it comes to officers on the streets.

Meanwhile, hats off to the city staff who made this happen. Gilroy was the only city in Santa Clara County to receive a federal grant. That means attention to detail and demonstration through facts and figures not only of the need, but of the strategic plan for making this community a better, safer place.

The GPD also landed more than $90,000 in stimulus funds for equipment and to continue the DARE anti-drug program in schools.

In difficult economic times, this is all good news and hopefully the full grant will come to fruition as the city battles to keep crime in check.

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