photo: ken lavallee
For Tim Roussell, one thing has always been clear: "I've wanted to be a police officer my whole life," he says.

The twenty-six year old achieved that dream when he began the Lowell Police Academy in May of 2008. After five months, he graduated and has been on the job ever since.

But this past fall, rumors started circulating about potential layoffs. The recession was hitting the Lowell Police Department hard. "We found ourselves dropping back substantially," says Police Chief Kenneth Lavallee.

Roussell had to put a brake on his life. He knew that he would be one of those laid off. "When the news of the layoffs came out I was looking to buy a house," he says. "I put that on hold."

Stimulus changed all that. The Lowell Police department received a $2 million award through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program and a $550 K award through the Lowell Officer Recovery Initiative.

"We were facing an absolutely devastating situation here if we did not receive those funds," says Lavallee. "We were looking at laying off - in addition to the attrition we had already suffered -- 26 officers, so as a result of the funding we received we've been able to retain 26 police officers. If we lost those officers our staffing levels would have been below 200 and we would have been absolutely devastated."

For Roussell, a Navy veteran of four years who spent time in Somalia and the

Tim Roussell
Persian Gulf, the Stimulus award allowed him to move on with his life. He can now buy his first house - and take advantage of the $8K tax credit for first time homebuyers.

"I am so relieved I was retained," he says.