The Lowell Police have announced the successful acquisition of a federal grant that will be used to hire 4 or 5 officers who will hit the streets within months.
The grant, announced yesterday by state Senator Eileen Donoghue’s office, is for over $212,000 and was awarded through the Executive Office of Public Safety. According to a statement released by Senator Donoghue’s office:
“Lowell was one of eight communities eligible for this funding that met the grants requirements which included having a population of at least 65,000 and demonstrating that its police department had an operating budget per capita of less than $200 in 2010. The department may use this funding for salary of personnel, employer paid fringe benefit costs, overtime costs and training of officers.”
“This funding is instrumental in maintaining public safety in the City of Lowell. In this time of declining resources, the department is extremely grateful to have received this funding from EOPSS,” said Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee. “The LPD will utilize the funds to hire additional officers in the near future. The additional officers will allow the department to continue its community policing philosophy and assist in our efforts to proactively prevent crime in the City of Lowell. The LPD would also like to express its gratitude to the members of the Massachusetts Legislature, by whom this funding was made available to cities and towns in the Commonwealth that were in dire need of additional public safety funding.”
Lavallee told the Lowell Sun that the funds will be used to add four or five officers to the department’s current ranks of 228. According to The Sun, that number is down from a high of 260 officers some years ago.
The Lowell Sun: “To speed up the process, Lavallee said the department will hire “lateral transfers,” officers from other departments who are already trained, instead of waiting until next June when another police academy starts.
“There is a time constraint on the grant, so we can’t wait until the academy starts,” Lavallee said.
Deputy Superintendent Deborah Friedl, who will oversee the hiring process, said it will probably take two to three months to get applications, conduct background checks on eligible officers, and then offer positions.
While high-ranking officers often make headlines by pulling in over $100,000 per year, new hires at the Lowell Police Department make between $30,000 and $35,000, depending on their education level.
Since officers hired via lateral transfer have already been trained at a police academy, once they’re hired they will spend about a month undergoing training in policy and procedures here in Lowell, and learning their way around the city, according to Friedl.
“We just show them the ropes and how it might be different from where they come from,” she said.