The city of Waco expects to be paid $500,000 for the work it did last May 17 in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant. The city is seeking two grants.
Waco will apply for a $248,841 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs Grants Management System. In 2014, the Department of Justice dispersed about $290.9 million in JAG funds The amount for 2015 has not yet been published. In 2014 about $22.2 million in JAG funds went to the state of Texas. The state retained about $13.32 million of that amount. The remainder, $8.88 million, was dispersed to local governments. Technically, the millions for police are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which, at the time, was presented to the nation as a way to boost the faltering economy by rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
The amount allocated to each state is performance based. Generally speaking, the more arrests a state makes in competition with other states, the higher its funding allocation. In 2014, California led the nation with a total JAG allocation of $32,245,797. Vermont only qualified for a JAG of $727,321.
The deadline to apply for a JAG is tomorrow. Applicants can apply online. Waco met the public comment requirement for JAG applications by raising the subject at a city council meeting.
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, “The bulk of the requested (direct JAG) funding, more than $240,000, would go to the Waco Police Department for overtime and equipment, with small amounts going to Waco Transit, the Waco Fire Department and the police departments in Robinson, Woodway, Hewitt and Lorena.”
“Based on the feedback we’ve received, I believe we will receive a portion or all of the money we’ve requested,” Frank Patterson, coordinator of the Waco-McLennan County Office of Emergency Management told the Tribune-Herald. “There’s no reason to doubt it.”
No Digital Camouflage
No one in Waco is advertising what equipment the city will use the JAG funds to buy. The Bureau of Justice Assistance currently forbids using Jag funds to acquire: “Tracked armored vehicles; weaponized aircraft; firearms and ammunition with a caliber of .50 or higher; grenade launchers; bayonets; and digital pattern camouflage uniforms, although woodland and desert patterns are allowable.” The purchase of drones requires prior approval by the BJA.
According to the Waco newspaper, “McLennan County officials have announced plans to seek a separate grant of about $250,000 from the state of Texas to defray the cost of housing and feeding the 177 people arrested the day of the deadly shootout, along with overtime for deputies.” The paper does not explain whether this amount comprises JAG funds dispersed through the state.
Patterson told the Tribune-Herald that the half million dollars would “cover only a fraction of the actual costs law enforcement incurred at the scene.”