Officer McWilson gives a high five to an Oceanside youth at a community event. COPS grant funds help pay for school resource officers and gang and violent crime suppression detail. Photo by Promise Yee

Grant funds will buy policing, security cameras

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Police Department was awarded $272,000 in Citizens’ Option for Public Safety, or COPS, grant funds that City Council approved receiving April 17. 

These noncompetitive state grant funds are awarded to California cities based on their population.

Like most government funds, COPS grant dollar amounts have declined over the past few years. Still, funds received make a positive impact by paying for additional community policing and purchasing essential equipment.

The grant money is doled out in quarterly payments with the final amount subject to adjustment based in part on state revenue from vehicle funds.

Last year the city was initially awarded $300,000, but the final amount was reduced to about $272,000. As a result a couple of projects listed on last year’s grant application could not be funded.

The city has already received its first grant payment this fiscal year, but Police Capt. Fred Armijo said the department would not spend promised grant money before it is received.

“There is a history of adjustments,” Armijo said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if we got a reduction this year.”

Initial funds will be used to help pay for school resource officers and gang and violent crime suppression detail.

Beyond resource officers and extra detail, equipment for one project at a time will be funded. On the list are field evidence cameras, anticrime and graffiti cameras, and police canine equipment.

“We rely on the grant to help fund a major portion of the salary of one of three resource officers,” Armijo said. “It’s a big chunk of money to help support the program. It also gives us more flexibility to help purchase equipment to do our job efficiently and benefit the city.”

Armijo added the police chief would make the final decision on what gets funded and what is dropped from the grant request list if funding falls short.

“There’s always other ideas out there and a limited amount of funds,” Armijo said.

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