Clinton's grant proposal sparks interest of Brazil City officials

Friday, April 18, 2008

A recent proposal brought forth by 2008 presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) got the attention of Brazil City officials.

Crime rates across the country have been on the rise at an alarming rate. Recently, Clinton proposed that -- if she was elected -- she would cut homicide rates in half within five years by bringing back two grant programs that were effectively shut down by the Bush Administration earlier this year.

While at an April 11 speaking engagement in Philadelphia, Clinton proposed bringing back the COPS 2.0 and Close the Revolving Door grant programs for law enforcement.

While in Philadelphia, Clinton told an audience the programs were cut to help fund the war in Iraq.

Brazil Chief of Police Terry Harrison and Mayor Ann Bradshaw -- both Clinton supporters -- were admittedly delighted when they heard the proposal.

"I think it would be very vital," Bradshaw said. "It's excellent."

Harrison said when the program was in place before the Brazil City Police Department took advantage of it.

Through both grant programs, Harrison said BCPD managed to hire another police officer and purchase equipment.

"These are outstanding forms of funding," Harrison said. "Because of the budget situation we're in right now, if we can snag one of these, it would be a boost for the city."

Currently, BCPD has 12 officers on staff, which Harrison said is the normal amount. Still, he said with the crime rate on the rise, having another officer aboard would be beneficial to the department, adding some officers on the staff are "overwhelmed" with their laundry list of duties.

"It was music to the ears," Harrison said upon hearing Clinton's proposal. "It only benefits the whole community. (Clinton) is big on pushing for that."

Clinton's proposal focused on the increase in homicide rates in Indiana, specifically in Gary, Indianapolis and South Bend.

According to a press release provided by the Clinton campaign, since 2006, Gary has a murder rate of 48.3 per 100,000 residents, giving the city the highest rate in the nation.

The release added in the same time span, Indianapolis' murder rate was 17 per 100,000 residents and South Bend was 13 per 100,000.

While the homicide rate in some cities has increased, Harrison said he believed Brazil has seen only an increase in theft recently.

"But I haven't compared the numbers (from last year)," he said.

According to Clinton's plan, bringing back the COPS 2.0 grant program "will provide 100,000 new cops and invest $1 billion to reduce the number of repeat offenders."

"We're obligated to provide the best coverage we can," Harrison said.

"This would help us in a big way," Bradshaw added. "I would say we would absolutely look into it immediately."

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