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.