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April 13, 2009 - 9:56pm

Batavia council approves resolution to seek funding for additional police officer position

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, police.

After some discussion of whether the City of Batavia should apply to hire one or two new police officers through a Federal grant program, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to seek funding for one position.

The new position, if the grant is approved, would create an entry-level police officer to participate in a community-oriented policing program, and it would replace a position eliminated in the 2008-2009 budget.

The funding comes from U.S. Governments COPS Hiring Recovery Program and covers the first three years of salary and benefits for a new hire.

According to City Manager Jason Molino, the grant cannot be used to replace a retiring officer or to hire a new detective. It can only be used to back fill a position previously eliminated.

Community-oriented policing is a program developed in New York City in 1990s, and used with some success in San Diego. It involves officers being more involved in the community, developing relationships with people in local neighborhoods to solve problems and prevent crimes.

Councilman Bob Bialkowski suggested the city apply for two such positions, and made a motion to amend the resolution, but most of the rest of the council disagreed and voted it down.

In arguing against the motion, Councilman Tim Buckley said, "Let's apply for this one and be happy we get it," stating a concern that applying for two when the city may only qualify for one could cause the entire application to be denied.

The subsequent motion supporting the original resolution for one position was approved unanimously.

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