A big new batch of federal grant money is available to police departments that want to hire more officers, but the strings attached to it make it uncertain whether Reading will apply.
Reading Police Chief William M. Heim said the city is eligible to apply for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funds from the U.S. Department of Justice for the first time since 2009, when it received $1 million.
A review of grant program rules posted online indicates the city might be able to apply for partial funding of as many as eight police officer positions. Heim said he will be looking at the rules in the coming week.
Law enforcement funding was a big issue at the Berks-Reading crime summit in January, and the COPS application deadline is May 22.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A stepped-up Reading police focus on the area of Fourth and Penn streets in the first three months of the year yielded a trove of arrests, traffic tickets and apprehensions of people wanted on bench warrants, the city has announced.
Nineteen special details of officers on foot and in cruisers patrolled the area and made 31 arrests for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, drug violations and drunken driving, among other things. In addition, 37 people who had failed to pay past traffic or parking tickets were taken into custody, as were six people wanted on bench warrants for failing to appear for court proceedings.
Police Chief William M. Heim said, “The reports we are getting from some of the business owners is that it is working, and they feel more comfortable and they think conditions are getting better.”
Editor’s note: This is great news! We think Mark Flanders needs to be there too since Pottstown’s problems are a result of drugs and crime moving between Reading and Philadelphia.
Months of talk about scheduling a crime summit in Reading culminated Monday afternoon when staffers of Gov. Tom Corbett said he would be available to attend Jan. 18, and local officials immediately set about planning the summit.
Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said the inability to pin down a date with Corbett had slowed planning. The original call for the summit was issued in May in a front-page editorial in the Reading Eagle.