Federal funds to help police reform efforts in Schenectady – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – The city’s police department plans to use a federal grant to help with ongoing reform efforts, although the exact way the funds will be spent remains to be determined.

The Schenectady Police Department, in conjunction with the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, received a Justice Assistance Grant of $ 50,336 from the US Department of Justice. The money will be split equally between the two agencies.

City police plan to use their portion of $ 25,168 “for the purchase of equipment, technology, training and assessments / studies to support transparency and information sharing between the forces of the ‘order and communities,’ according to documents submitted by the department to the city council’s public security committee.

The committee unanimously approved a request to receive the funds at its Monday meeting. The city is not required to disburse the funds, and the full council is expected to approve the request next week.

Police Chief Eric Clifford said on Wednesday the department had not yet determined how exactly the money would be spent, but planned to start having conversations next month on the recommendations set out in the collaborative plan for the reform and reinvention of the city police that should receive funding.

“We haven’t reduced it to what we have to spend it on. I can tell you that it will be spent on something that relates to the reform recommendations that we presented to the governor’s office this year, ”he said. “We will try to match as best as possible what we have to pay now that we know this money is available, what can wait before funding, perhaps by applying for grants or waiting for funding through the process. budgetary.

The city’s reform plan, approved earlier this year after months of public stakeholder meetings following an executive decree issued last year by the then government. Andrew Cuomo, presented over two dozen recommendations. Increased transparency, increased community engagement and enhanced officer training, including anti-racism measures, are among those set out in the plan.

Cuomo issued the order in response to the police murder of George Floyd, a black man from Minnesota. Floyd’s death sparked protests across the county, including several in the Capital Region.

Clifford said possible uses of the funds included strengthening community policing efforts as well as de-escalation training, although he noted that a final decision would not be made until next year.

The department received funding as part of the city’s budget process to hire nine additional officers, fund a diversion program and strengthen its Public Safety League – recommendations set out in the reform plan. American Rescue Plan Act funds were used to cover costs.

“We want to get our money’s worth, but we just don’t know where we’re going to put it yet,” he said. “These are conversations that I will have with my staff and, ultimately, the public safety commissioner and the mayor at some point.”

In addition to JAG funding, the ministry also received a separate grant from DOJ through the Office of Community Policing. The $ 125,000 grant will help cover the costs of a training officer over the next three years.

The grant requires 25% city funding, which will extend the position for an additional year.

The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, plans to use its share of the JAG funding to help pay for a confidential investigator who will be assigned as a street gang investigator.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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