For Immediate Release - November 24, 2009

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION RELEASES $17.8 MILLION IN STIMULUS FUNDING TO REHIRE MUNICIPAL POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS

Phase two grants will assist 35 police departments and 85 fire departments across the Commonwealth

WORCESTER - Monday, November 23, 2009 - Moving to help municipal police and fire departments across the Commonwealth impacted by budget cuts that have forced layoffs and vacancies resulting from attrition, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the administration will release $17.8 million in federal stimulus funds to hire, rehire or retain 83 police officers in 35 police departments and 105 firefighters in 85 fire departments. The funds will also be used to support additional shift staffing needs.

Today's announcement marks the first round of awards to police departments and the second round to fire departments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Police grants are supported by Department of Justice/Byrne Grants and firefighters grants are funded through discretionary stimulus funds Governor Patrick set aside specifically to help fire departments address staffing reductions caused by the current recession.

"The economic crisis has hit cities and towns hard and forced communities to lay off the men and women sworn to protect us," said Governor Patrick. "With these stimulus funds, we can eliminate dangerous understaffing, put people to work and give our police and fire departments the resources they need to keep our residents safe. I commend our partners in the Congressional Delegation for making this critical funding possible."

"This funding will help restore critical public safety jobs, benefiting all of us in our time of need," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "These rehired positions will not only ensure the safety of our Massachusetts residents, but will also put people back to work. I am grateful to our Congressional Delegation for the work they did to provide us with the funding to put people back to work."

"Massachusetts' first responders don't hesitate to put their lives on the line when people need help. These critical investments will ensure that we're able to rehire police officers and firefighters, and that means safer communities, lower crime rates and jobs saved," said Senator John Kerry.

"Our first-responders need and deserve all the support that we can give them," said Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr. "I commend Governor Patrick for his efforts to keep our courageous police officers and firefighters on the job and our citizens safe."

"These critical federal funds will ensure that our first responders will not face potentially dangerous staffing cuts," said Congressman Edward J. Markey. "I commend Governor Patrick for doing all he can to keep cops on the beat and firefighters at the ready here in the 7 th Congressional District and across the Commonwealth."

"The recession has hit our local communities very hard," said Congressman James McGovern. "Local governments are facing some very difficult decisions, but we also know that we need robust police and fire departments. That's why this federal stimulus funding is so important - it helps keep our communities safe and maintains and creates jobs."

"The use of these additional federal stimulus funds will enable Lynn to put three new cops on the beat and allow West Newbury to rehire one officer who had been laid off. Coupled with Governor Patrick's decision to use discretionary Recovery Act stabilization funds to support municipal fire departments in Beverly, Danvers, Gloucester, Saugus, Lynn, and Peabody, this is certainly welcome news for local residents and our communities as they begin to formulate their budgets for next year," said Congressman John Tierney.

"Given the current economic conditions, this additional funding will help police and fire departments meet budget shortfalls, and ensure that essential public safety personnel are out protecting our communities," said Congressman William Delahunt.

"With the announcement of these grants, the stimulus bill is achieving two critically important goals," said Congressman Mike Capuano. "Putting people to work, and addressing public safety needs."

"With cities and towns in western and central Massachusetts facing serious budget cuts, this federal investment will help keep police and firefighters on the job protecting our communities. It is essential that our first responders and emergency response professionals have the manpower and resources necessary to do their jobs effectively. Today's announcement by Governor Patrick meets that important goal. It is also another reminder of how the stimulus program is making a difference in the lives of every American," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.

"Recently a town that I represent had to close a fire station in order to balance their budget, and nearly every community I represent has been forced to layoff essential first responders," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Today's announcement is excellent news for these cities and towns. By putting police officers back on our streets and firefighters back on the job, these recovery act funds will help keep our communities safe and residents protected during this difficult economic period."

Police departments will receive $6.2 million. 147 cities and towns previously received a combined total of $15,749,229 in police grants directly from ARRA earlier this year.

The administration will direct $11.6 million to fire departments across the Commonwealth in addition to the $8.1 million in the first phase previously announced in October. Because the ARRA program does not include staffing grants for fire departments, the Governor set aside funds specifically to retain and rehire fire fighters in communities throughout Massachusetts earlier this year. The federal Recovery Act does make $210 million available nationally for fire departments to compete for grants to support the renovation and construction of local fire stations.

124 police departments and 87 fire departments submitted applications to the Patrick-Murray Administration's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) for the two staffing grant programs. EOPSS used formulas based on budgets, staffing issues and public safety concerns to determine which departments received grants. For a full list of award recipients, please visit www.mass.gov/eopss.

"These stimulus funds will help keep our fire stations open and will keep police officers on the street," said Representative David Linsky, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight. "Without the federal stimulus funds, we would have had massive layoffs of police officers and firefighters."

"The Patrick-Murray administration has moved to provide critically needed assistance to local police and fire departments," said Public Safety and Security Secretary Kevin M. Burke. "This is funding each department needs to help ensure the public's safety across the Commonwealth."

In total, $71 million in federal recovery funds are being directed to local public safety officials.

 

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