The Owasso Police Department is set to receive a $750,000 grant to hire six additional officers to the force.
The funds are provided by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, as part of its 2020 Hiring Grant program to help local law enforcement agencies increase the number of patrols throughout their communities.
Owasso PD applied for the grant in March and was notified earlier this month that it would receive the money, which will go toward paying a portion of the salaries and benefits of the new officers.
Owasso City Council approved the acceptance of the funds at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 21.
“Six new officers is a 10% increase to our force at one time, and that’s something we could not have accomplished within our normal funding mechanisms,” Deputy Chief of Police Jason Woodruff said.
COPS’ latest endowment to Owasso PD marks the first time in nearly two decades that the department has received a grant from the organization, which kicked off the program in 1994.
“We apply for it every year, but we’ve never gotten it,” Woodruff said. “It’s been close to 20 years ago the last time we got it.”
Councilman Doug Bonebrake commended the department for the continued steps it has taken to obtain the funds.
“(It’s) a great thing what you all did to apply for this grant,” Bonebrake said at Tuesday’s meeting. “This is a huge addition to the force, I think. I really appreciate the efforts going into this.”
The grant will cover three quarters of the total projected hiring cost of more than $1.5 million, and will contribute to a federal payout of $125,000 per officer over a three-year period. The City will cover the remaining estimated $788,000 through an expenditure increase in its General Fund and Half-Penny Police Fund.
The forthcoming addition of the new officers will bring Owasso PD’s total number to 66.
Owasso PD regularly receives donations through various fundraising efforts of the Friends of Owasso Police and Owasso FOP Lodge 149, as well as from other individual contributions.