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City receives grant to rehire school resource officers

Department of Justice awards $1,242,777 to hire three full-time officers
By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the City of Folsom a $1,242,777 grant to hire three full-time officers and was unanimously approved by Folsom City Council. “This allows us to bring on three police officers that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford because it’s a grant for three years,” said Jim Francis, finance director for the city. “We are bringing in two school resource officers which we had to lay off two years ago.” The COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant was approved by city council under the Rehiring Program, said Sgt. Jason Browning with the Folsom Police Department. The program allows the police to fill vacancies.  The grant provides three years of salary and benefits for the hired officers, and then requires the department to pay for the fourth year, Browning said. “We have partnered with the Folsom Cordova Unified School District with the assistance of Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt where they will pay one third of the expense in year four in exchange for the officers to be dedicated to the schools,” Browning said. The three officer positions will be assigned to the schools and juvenile diversion programs that help prevent any other juvenile offenses. Two school resource officers will be assigned to campuses and one juvenile diversion detective will be assigned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau, Browning said. “The hiring and training of the new officers will allow us to return school resource officers to the schools in time for the 2011/2012 school year,” Browning said. Francis said there will be no cost to the city in the first three years because this is a federal grant. The cost during the fourth year will be approximately $350,000, Francis said. “It’s great to be able to return school resource officers to the schools and provide a level of service we haven’t achieved in two years,” said Capt. Bryan Sather. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Folsom-Cordova School District and the Folsom City Council.” In other business, it looks like the city won’t need to return fees to developers. “When the state legislation was passed, it had a provision on impact fees (stating if) the city has not either spent or committed the fees within five years of the receipt of the fee, then (we) have to refund the fee back to the developer,” Francis said. “We made the finding that all fees have been spent or committed to a project within the five years, and thus, no refunds are required.” During scheduled presentations, Folsom resident Benjamin David Nickel was honored for his Good Samaritan efforts on behalf of helping save multiple victims of a vehicle accident last summer. Ron Phillips, acting Folsom fire chief, thanked Nickel for his efforts along with the team of Folsom Engine 37 B shift firefighters who were on duty during the night of the accident.