Rep. seeks local police funding

Darleene Barrientos

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.

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