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Missouri to get $19.6 million to hire more police

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 28, 2009 - Vice President Joe Biden's office announced this morning that Missouri law enforcement agencies will receive "more than $19,697,636 in grants to fund the hiring and rehiring of 118 law enforcement officers in Missouri."

The money is part of $1 billion in law enforcement grants, funded by federal stimulus money, that Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder made public today.

The terms do require some state and local money as well, although not at first. But it means that cash-strapped law enforcement agencies will have to come up with money in a few years to pay for the officers they're now getting for free.

As Biden's announcement explains: "These funds will provide 100 percent of the approved salary and benefits for these officers for three years. All police departments receiving the grants will then be required to retain the grant-funded positions for a fourth year."

The announcement continues:

"The Recovery Act grants, which will be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through the federal agency’s COPS Hiring Recovery Program, provide much needed financial support to state, local and tribal governments, and will help the nation’s law enforcement agencies add and retain the manpower needed to fight crime more effectively through community policing. The Department of Justice received over 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions, representing a total of $8.3 billion in requested funding."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.