Fitchburg Police Department and Jeffrey Simon
For the Fitchburg Police Department, a series of stimulus grants could not have come at a better time.

The Department was down from a high of 72 officers in 2007 to 56 two years ago. The economic downturn and

Recovery Act Impact: Fitchburg Police Department

  • Total: $1.1 million

  • COPS Hiring Recovery Program: $802K

  • Justice Assistance Grant: $120K

  • Department of Justice Grant: $182K

  • Hired/retained 7 officers

  • Hired crime analyst

  • Acquired new equipment

the ensuing budget cuts meant that even more would have to be laid off.

"We were getting close to the point where it was not safe," said Fitchburg Deputy Police Chief Philip Kearns Jr. "We're doing all right now."

The Department indeed is doing all right thanks to three stimulus funded grants totaling $1.1 million that enabled it to retain seven officers, acquire new

Fitchburg Police Officers and Jeffrey Simon
equipment and hire a crime analyst which is partly credited with the city's reduction in crime over the past two years.

"The stimulus grants let us maintain our staff and our equipment," said Fitchburg Police Chief Robert DeMoura.

DeMoura added that the Department's decision to use part of the stimulus funds to hire a crime analyst was one of its most imperative ones. "It is more important to see where crime was occurring and we needed someone to tell us about the data we had," he said. "We had a storage of knowledge that was meaningless because no one was looking at it. What is the point in having that knowledge? [The analyst] tells our officers what is going on."

That information has helped the police force in Fitchburg focus on "hot spots" in the city. "We don't waste time," said DeMoura. "Our patrol force can go out every

Fitchburg Police Department and Jeffrey Simon
day to the right places." The information is also shared with other city departments - like the building and health departments - who can help public safety by cracking down on code violations. "They can crack down on violations we can't, get to the root of the issue and then call us," said DeMoura. "We are using everything we have to focus on one common purpose and the key is the data."

Most importantly, it's working. According to Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong, the city's crime rate has decreased 9% over the past two years.

"The stimulus funds came at the right time," said DeMoura.