The Henderson City Council voted unanimously during its regular Monday evening meeting to apply for a COPS grant through the US Department of Justice.
The grant uses recovery money to fully fund three entry-level sworn officer positions in the Henderson Police Department with benefits for three years. No matching funds are required. However, after the third year, the city is expected to retain the positions and fund them fully for an indefinite period of time.
The current number of sworn officer positions in the department is 58, 55 of which are currently filled, according to Captain Perry Twisdale, who was present at the city council meeting. Acceptance of the grant would raise that number to 61 sworn officers.
According to City Manager Ray Griffin, the city would have to petition the Department of Justice should it wish to eliminate the positions are part of a city-wide reduction.
Council member Mike Rainey questioned the amount of the grant, $396,000. Griffin explained that the numbers assumed increases in benefits costs and was therefore not an additive progression.
Member Garry Daeke expressed the hope that the increase in position funding from year-to-year was based on a previous council discussion on starting pay [for police officers]. Griffin responded that he could only go by what the starting pay is now, but that he hoped to bring a pay classification study to the council.