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Washington State News

Spokane Awarded $136,846 in Public Safety Grant Funds

(The Center Square) – The Spokane City Council is expected to officially accept a $81,396 federal grant on Aug. 22 that will be used to purchase equipment to enhance the safety of officers and the community. 

Officials are also anticipated to accept a state grant of $55,450 on Monday that will be used to hire and recruit officers from diverse backgrounds to improve relationships with underserved communities.

The federal grant through the U.S. Department of Justice is $180,000 but is being split with Spokane County. The county’s share will be divided equally at $40,698 between the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s office. The sheriff’s allocation will purchase tactical gear and the prosecutor’s share will cover 60% of wages for an existing full-time staff position over the next 12 months.

The county is also retaining $18,000 to cover administrative expenses associated with the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. The grant has been named for a police offer in New York who was murdered in the line of duty in 1988. 

The JAG program is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The funding will be distributed in October and is channeled through the state Department of Commerce.

To ensure that each state receives an appropriate share of JAG funds, federal officials say allocations to state and local governments are based on a formula using population and crime statistics in each region. Funds are split 60/40 between state and local recipients within states.

The funds from Washington’s Criminal Justice Training Commission to create “dynamic, diverse, community-oriented police departments” requires the city to develop multimedia videos and other recruiting materials. The recruiting drive is intended to attract more officers from underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural communities.