Federal money could help Burbank police buy specialized equipment and
rebuild youth and community education programs if the House of
Representatives approves an amendment made by a Burbank lawmaker.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) offered the amendment last week to
restore $1.3 billion in local law enforcement grants that were cut
from the president's budget.
The amendment, if approved, could help Burbank Police curb crime
by beefing up special programs. The money received through such
grants, like the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants, has decreased
steadily the past few years, said Cindy Magnanti, who oversees the
grants received by the department. In 2001, Burbank received $91,000,
which went down to $67,992 in 2002. The grants dropped to $51,381
last year, she said.
Local Law Enforcement Block Grants are used for the department's
community and youth education programs and especially for buying
specialized equipment, Magnanti said.
"Equipment is a big thing for us, just because the budget doesn't
allow for it anymore," Magnanti said.
The grants have helped the department conduct its youth and
community academies, and have helped high school students and
residents understand law enforcement, crime prevention and what each
bureau does within the Burbank Police Department.
"It's a funding stream that's needed," Schiff said, especially
since California cities like Burbank are suffering from a severe
state budget shortfall. Burbank faces a $4.5-million shortfall in
next year's budget.
The potential money could allow Burbank Police to hire additional
officers, pay for overtime, allow for more protection for Bob Hope
Airport and acquire new technology.
"This funding is really enormously important in very specific
ways," he said.