TUSAYAN, Ariz. - The Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) has offered their grant writing services to the Tusayan Town Council to help with the hiring of career law enforcement officers, an offer discussed and passed during the council's May 19 meeting.
According to information on the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) website, www.cops.usdoj.gov, community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.
Law enforcement consultant to the council Judge Bill Sutton said he is in favor of the grant and urged the council to pursue it.
"A COPS grant will actually get us a larger law enforcement presence here," Sutton said. "The grant would be for three years, and the council would be applying for two officers. It would be a 40-hour a week officer. That comes to about, according to Kathy Allen, $150,000 per year, about $75,000 an officer."
Sutton went on to say he felt the town could still hire a marshal during their three years, in order to transition into the type of law enforcement situation the town would like. He suggested a three-person department.
The grant will go into effect in October and the town will be committed for three years, after which they will have to find ways to continue to pay their officers.
Town Manager Enrique Ochoa said, in regard to the fiscal impact, the council is looking at funds awarded by the federal government to the town between $150,000 to 180,000 a year to help pay for law enforcement services already provided by CCSO.
"Verbally, it was stated to me that the amount would be deducted from the $350,000 that the town is currently paying to CCSO," Ochoa said. "Having said that, I want you to know that their staff is still working on providing me with information that I asked them for that justifies the expenditures procured by them, to date, to provide services to Tusayan."
Ochoa added the $160,000 is a supplement from the federal government, and asked the council to keep in mind they continue to pursue negotiations with the Sheriff's Department.
Council members voted to move forward with the COPS grant, with the intention to still pursue hiring a town marshal in the future.
The application date for the grant opened May 2, and closes today.