Awarded Funds to Date:$38.8 million
Total Committed or Under Contract:$24.7 million
Expended Funds to Date:$13.7 million

Tim Roussell: Stimulus award gives police officer a chance

photograph by: Ariel Kessler

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 thousand 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 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.

Stimulus funds have allowed Massachusetts to avoid significant cuts in critical areas of public safety. As a result of stimulus funding, positions across 13 public safety agencies, including state police officers, correctional officers, and parole officers have been retained. Approximately $13.5 million of ARRA funding was utilized to address a portion of the fiscal year 2009 budget shortfall. These funds helped maintain funding for over 700 public safety positions.

One major source of stimulus funding for public safety has come in the form of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), of which Massachusetts has been awarded over $25 million. Approximately $3.1 million of this amount has been allocated to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and awarded to local organizations for the purpose of youth employment.

An additional $6.2 million has been awarded to municipal police departments for the retention of sworn police officers. These awards helped to hire, rehire, or retain 83 officers across 35 police departments. This funding supplements over $15 million in ARRA funding directly to cities and towns to support overtime patrols and community policing.

Another $12.5 million in JAG grants has been used to offset budget cuts at the Department of Correction. This funding supports medical and mental health services in the state prison system, creating jobs at UMass Medical Center and other medical and mental health providers.

In an effort to follow through on the Governor's commitment to energy efficiency throughout state government, the Commonwealth also plans to execute contracts for eight energy efficiency projects totaling over $9.4 million that have been funded by the National Guard Bureau. Upgrades will include new windows, insulated siding, repainting and sealing of building envelope, replacement of boilers, and upgrades to HVAC systems.

State Fiscal Stabilization Government Services

During the second quarter, Government Services funds were awarded and expended to support Massachusetts municipal fire departments impacted by budget cuts that have forced layoffs and also vacancies resulting from attrition. The Commonwealth announced two sets of awards, one in October directing $7.8 million to rehire 125 firefighters who were laid off, and then a second round in late November directing $11.6 million to retain or hire 105 firefighters in their fire departments. In total, 85 communities were impacted by ARRA funding for these two awards. The second round of awards will also be used to support additional shift staffing needs. Spending has occurred in the first set of 10 communities that received awards.

In total, over $71 million in ARRA funds have flowed to public safety services in Massachusetts.

Created January 29, 2010: Information provided by the Federal Stimulus Team