Lewistown Police finally receive 2013 grant money

LEWISTOWN – The Lewistown Police Department received three grants, all of which came from the federal level, in 2013.

The grants were the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board grant, a grant from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and School Resource Officer grant. These grants were all awarded earlier in the year, but the funds were put on hold due to the government shutdown in October. Lewistown Police Chief Bill Herkert said the funds are coming.

“The shutdown may have ended months ago, but there is still a backlog in offices where grant money is coming from,” Herkert said. “As it was before, we know we are getting the money, and we can now work with how we are going to use it, but the backlog is slowing the distribution of it (the money).”

The PLCB grant was applied for in March, both of this year and of last year, but was only received this year. Nancy Records, with Communities that Care, helped the department write the grant proposal.

“These PLCB grants have become very competitive, and we just missed the cut for funding last year,” Records said. “We are pleased that we received funding this year, especially because as of 2013, the grants are now two-year grants.”

The grants that they have been applying for used to be yearly grants, meaning they had to re-apply every year. With being awarded grants that last two years, the department can focus on using the grants rather than constantly applying for them.

The PLCB grant is not only going to be used by Lewistown Police, but also Mifflin Country Regional Police, Granville Police and the District Attorney’s office. This grant will help the county as a whole, so all departments can work together to send a message that underage drinking is preventable. The grant will provide money for education, police training and proactive policing. The proactive policing will allow police to go undercover to stop adults from providing alcohol to minors and work to disperse underage parties before they begin.

The grant from the Office of Community Oriented Policing services was being received to hire, rehire, or retain one police officer. Lewistown Police received $125,000 from the grant, stated a press release from Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa.

“This grant will help the Lewistown Police Department to continue to keep residents safe,” Casey said in the release. “The C.O.P.S. program has proven effective in helping communities across Pennsylvania. I will continue to urge Congress to increase funding for the program so that our municipalities can continue to work on advancing public safety.”

The third grant is the School Resource Officer grant, which allows funding to have officers assigned to patrol the school buildings within the borough. This grant was applied for with help from the borough. Herkert said having an officer patrol schools should begin in early January.

“We want to put this into use as soon as we can,” Herkert said.

Records said the grants are increasingly harder to apply for, not only for the amount of people that apply, but also because the grants are awarding less money.

The department is always looking for new grants, some to help them individually and some to help all law enforcement agencies in the county.