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Middletown seeking federal grant to hire 2 police officers

Middletown has applied for federal COPS grant funding to cover the salary and benefits for two additional police officers. Monday was the deadline for the city to submit its application for a COPS Grant.

The federal program has changed from recent years and only pays 75 percent of the costs while the city will be responsible for 25 percent of the costs for the first three years. In the fourth year and beyond, the city will cover 100 percent of the costs.

“It helps us out a lot and it helps the city by not having to fully fund these positions for the first three years,” said Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw. “It’s good if it works out long-term fiscally.”

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He said it costs about $70,000 a year in salary and benefits for a patrol officer.

Muterspaw said if the city receives the grant, the budget will determine if the city can accept the grant if can afford those additional officers. He said the city should find out later this fall if Middletown will be receive the funding.

“We have to see how it affects us down the road and we have to be smart about that,” he said.

Muterspaw said the city and the Fraternal Order of Police union have had preliminary discussions on some possible contract renegotiations to see what can be done in the future.

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“I’m really proud of the FOP for stepping up to help get more staffing in the future,” Muterspaw said. “It’s really good.”

Middletown currently has 70 sworn officers, down from 93 from when Muterspaw started in 1990.

The last time Middletown obtained a COPS Grant was in 2012 when four officers were hired.

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