Justice Assistance Grant spending finalized

FLINT TWP. — No objections were raised about spending plans for the 2012 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), during a pubic hearing Monday night at the township board meeting.

A $226,615 local award to fight crime and improve pubic safety will be divided among five eligible municipalities — the cities of Burton and Flint, the townships of Flint and Mt. Morris and Genesee County.

The five JAG communities share many common concerns and problems including increasing difficulty in funding more than basic police services, according to narratives provided with the spending proposals.

The Flint Township Police Department, which administers the JAG grant, plans to use $24,208 of its $27,208 allocation to purchase equipment and technology. Purchases may include police vehicles, computer equipment, training equipment, supplies, holsters, flashlights and safety equipment. The remaining $3,000 will be used for administration to pay overtime for a clerk to handle the JAG paperwork.

The City of Burton Police Department plans to uses its $9,233 allocation to maintain or update an in-car report writing system and connection to a department records management system. That will facilitate a more timely and efficient completion of report and allow officers to spend less time on paperwork and more time in assigned districts, resulting in decreased response time and better community service, according to Chief Thomas Osterholzer.

The city of Flint gets the lion’s share of funding — $167,499 — and plans to spend $9,000 to buy five automatic external defibrillators with extra pads to place on each floor of the police department and in the shift commander’s vehicle. Officers were trained to use the lifesaving devices earlier this year. The remaining $158,499 will be used to buy police cars and necessary equipment including lights and radios.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s office will spend its $11,331 share to buy equipment for its marine and patrol divisions. Items include duty gear, life vests, portable breathalyzers, police lights for boats and handheld radios for use by marine and patrol deputies countywide.

Mt. Morris Township has earmarked its $11,345 JAG funding to upgrade dated equipment and train officers in crime fighting. Having lost 16 positions in seven years due to severe budget cuts, the department has had very little funding for equipment and training. It plans to spend $9000 to buy technology equipment to enable fewer officers to better manage increasing workloads. The remaining $2,345 is allocated for training in crime-fighting techniques.

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