Midlothian Police Will Apply For COPS Grant
MIDLOTHIAN – Place 3 councilmember Ted Miller was not in attendance at the Midlothian City Council meeting Tuesday night making it a 6 -0 vote to allow the Midlothian Police Department to apply for a public safety grant with the COPS Office FY 2022 COPS Hiring Program. The program is part of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith said “It is a pretty straight forward grant that would allow us to hire new officers if awarded. This is a nationwide grant, and it is based on statistics primarily crime stats and growth.”
The Midlothian Police Department is in the application process to receive the funds, which would partially fund future additional full-time law enforcement positions in the city.
Adding 10 New Officers Part of the Strategic Plan
On April 26, 2022, Council adopted the FY 2022-2027 Strategic Plan with a look at planning for future personnel in the next five fiscal years. If the Midlothian Police Department receive the COPS grant it would allow for partial funding of these salaries for the hiring of 10 new officers outlined in the strategic plan.
Awardees of the FY 2022 COPS Hiring Program grant receive up to 75% of the entry-level salary and fringe benefits for each approved position for a funding period of three-years. There is a minimum 25% local cash match cost share requirement with the maximum federal share per officer position at $125,000 over the three-year period.
The grant application requests $1,250,000 in funds to hire additional law enforcement officers over the three-year period with a minimum cash match by the City of $312,500. Based on actual estimated total salaries and benefits, the city could be responsible for up to an estimated 51% or $641,592 during that time as well.
“A new officer at about $60,000 cost the city about $92,000 a year so it is pretty expensive investment,” Smith said.
Midlothian Professional Standards Commander Vernell Dooley said, “This is to mitigate some of the costs that come with adding these additional officers in the future to help us fulfill that strategic plan that was adopted.”
Glenn Heights added to Ellis Countywide Radio System
The Midlothian City Council also approved a User Agreement between the City of Midlothian and the City of Glenn Heights to enable them to participate in the Ellis Countywide Radio System (ECRS).
“Glenn Heights is going to join the Ellis County Countywide Radio System, they are coming on as a user and will contribute to the maintenance cost of that and will get channels on our system for day-to-day usage,” Mike Weiss, Midlothian IT Director said.
Midlothian currently works with 34 agencies in Ellis County who use the ECRS.
In April of last year, the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office along with other Ellis County agencies transitioned to full-time use of the expanded five-site 700 MHz trunked public safety radio system now known as the Ellis Countywide Radio System (ECRS). Besides the Ellis County agencies, the Cities of Midlothian, Ovilla, Red Oak, and Waxahachie, as well as the Red Oak ISD PD are all using the system. The system operates through a connection to the North Texas Interoperable Radio System (NTIRS) maintained by the City of Fort Worth.
The City of Midlothian has been the managing City since 2017 and is the point of contact between the additional participating entities and the City of Fort Worth.
“Each Ellis County City or Emergency Services District must sign a USER Agreement with the City of Midlothian permitting them to operate their radios on the ECRS on a fulltime basis,” staff noted reported. “By signing this Agreement, the new user agrees to pay an annual fee per radio to help defray the upkeep of the entire system.”