Friday, May 21, 2010

Feds' error sent money to some small law-enforcement agencies, denied it to others

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the ecponomic stimulus bill, provided funding to enhance state and local law enforcement.  An audit found that the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) distributed most of the $1 billion without incident, but errors in the funding calculation sent money to 45 applicants that didn't deserve it and hurt 40 other applicants: 34 didn't receive a grant award due to the error, and received less money than they should have, Andrew Ramonas of MainJustice reports. Most of those in both categories serve small populations.

"COPS intends to remedy these inaccuracies by ensuring those agencies that were negatively affected will be provided funding" from the 2010 hiring program, the agency said in its report.  The program required all states or territories that applied to receive at least 0.5 percent of the total. Five jurisdictions -- Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota, Maine and the Northern Mariana Islands -- received awards they otherwise wouldn't have. Six states -- Tennessee, California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey -- were awarded less money than they would have received without the minimum requirement.

The program also required an equal amount of funding to be awarded to agencies serving fewer than 150,000 people and those serving over 150,000. COPS met this goal by awarding almost $500 million to 961 grantees serving populations below 150,000 and $500 million to 85 agencies serving populations over 150,000. Beginning on page 46 of the 86-page report, DOJ lists the 91 applicants negatively and positively affected by the funding equation error. (Read more)

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