By Ronda Wertman
ELK GARDEN – The Elk Garden Police Department is one of four departments in the state to receive a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant.
The local department will receive $50,380 as part of nearly $400 million in grant funding through the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP).
“That’s the chief’s salary for three years,” said Elk Garden mayor Marian Droppleman of the grant. “The pay will be extended over a three-year period. We will pay 25 percent and the DOJ will pay 75 percent.”
When he was originally hired, chief Jimmy Stewart was volunteering his time.
CHP applicants were required to identify a specific crime or disorder focus area and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches to that problem focus area.
According to Droppleman, in Elk Garden they cited “problems with the area and the high volume of drug trafficking in Mineral County.”
There have been increasing issues in recent years as the town has had problems with children and teens causing trouble and the influence of drugs in the community.
U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, Northern District of West Virginia, announced the funding for Elk Garden, along with Elkins - $109,375; Ranson - $250,000 and Terra Alta – 185,050.
“I have no doubt that each recipient will put this funding to good use, enhancing the good work already being done in the name of safety for our communities. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting residents and ensuring neighborhoods are crime-free as possible,” said Powell.
The attorney general announced funding awards to 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which provides the opportunity to hire 2,732 additional full-time law enforcement professionals.
“The Department of Justice is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great nation with needed resources, tools, and support. The funding announced today will bolster their ranks and contribute to expanding community policing efforts nationwide,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.
“A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their communities.”
The COPS Hiring Program is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law enforcement officers.