JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Police Department hopes to be able to hire five new officers for a little over the price of one through a grant with the Department of Justice.
The City of Jonesboro may soon be able to apply for the grant through the COPS Hiring Program. It would pay 75% of the salary and benefits for five officers for three years.
The city has applied for the grant in the past, but has never been awarded it.
Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said if they get the grant, the city could pay their portion of it by amending the budget or by using money that wasn't used for one reason or another the previous year.
"There's times like this past year we had money for officer's salaries that we didn't expend, so that would also cover an instance like that," Chief Elliott said. "But hopefully we're not in a point like that where we have a large deficit of officers at this point."
Chief said right now, the department is four officers short. The latest group of new hires is currently in training and will graduate from academy next month.
He said they should know if they're awarded the grant by this fall.
The JPD also hopes to obtain a grant from the Department of Justice to purchase a software and hardware system to enhance investigations.
Tuesday, the Jonesboro Finance and Administration Council Committee will consider a resolution to apply for the grant.
The $31,353 grant would go toward the purchase of the iVe, or Infotainment and Vehicle System Forensic Toolkit.
iVe would allow accident reconstructionists to extract data from 4,600 vehicle models.
According to the grant application, the toolkit would allow forensic examiners and traffic investigators to "quickly extrapolate and analyze vehicle data."
Information like recent destinations, favorite locations, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages, emails, pictures, videos, social media feeds, vehicle location when Bluetooth devices were connected and vehicle navigation history would be available through the program.
"All this information can be pertinent to a criminal investigation," the application states. "In traffic accident investigations, many vehicle systems record information that includes when and where vehicle lights are turned on, approximate speed of the vehicle, whether a passenger was present during the accident and when brakes were applied."
Several JPD investigators have been trained in digital forensic examinations.
The department also requested funding to purchase an e-citation system.
The software would reduce routine traffic stop times from seven to eight minutes down to four to five minutes.
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