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Grand Forks City Council members approve Police Department to pursue federal COPS Grant

The grant would assist in increasing the number of sworn personnel within the department

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – Grand Forks City Council members on Monday approved the Grand Forks Police Department to pursue a federal Community Oriented Policing Services Grant to assist in increasing the number of sworn personnel within the department.

With the city's growing population and the increase in the number of calls for service, the GFPD has determined that increasing staffing is necessary without sacrificing the department’s ability to provide current service levels.

Last year, the department had 53,477 calls for service, which GFPD Deputy Chief Bill Macki said is a record number for the department.

At present, the GFPD has 92 sworn officers. The department would like to see minimum on-duty staffing per shift increase to a total of seven officers, which is currently at six officers, and increase the overall staffing to 107 sworn officers.

The current overall number of officers is based on a 2014 staffing analysis, which determined the department needed 92 officers for the number of calls of service it was receiving at the time. Macki said the recommended number of officers increased to 95 in a 2018 staffing report. Based on the 2021 staffing analysis, a minimum of 100 officers is recommended in 2022.

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Macki said the grant will help address the staffing needs in the department in order to become compliant with the staffing analysis recommendation.

“The COPS Grant gives us an opportunity of kind of jump-starting that process,” Macki said. “We can apply for six officers — the cost is shared between us and the federal government. Roughly 50% of their salary over three years would be covered.”

If staffing is increased without using federal COPS Grants, the department recommends increasing the staffing by three officers per year over the next five years. If federal COPS Grants are authorized and awarded, the department recommends hiring six officers in 2023, which will allow for the department to efficiently reach its staffing goal while also reducing the city’s costs for these officers. The department would recommend continuing to increase by three officers per year, from 2025 to 2027.

June 9 is the last day the department can apply for the grant. Macki said there is no guarantee the grant will give the department all six positions it wants.

In other council news Monday:

  • The council voted 6-1, with Katie Dachtler dissenting, to annex a portion of land north of the city — absorbing the likely future site of a Fufeng Group corn mill and a strip of businesses along Highway 81. ( See related story )
  • The council gave preliminary approval to the Memorial Village development agreement and set the public hearing date for July 5. The proposed mixed-use redevelopment, which will replace the former Memorial Stadium, will consist of a five-story building housing UND's Athletic Department on the first floor; coaches offices, film rooms and meeting rooms on part of the second floor; and 99 residential market rent apartments with 25 one-bedroom units, 58 two-bedroom units and 16 four-bedroom units on floors two through five. Memorial Village will also have underground parking and a walkway connection to the existing and future expanded UND Pollard High Performance Center.
  • Gave final approval of a conditional use permit for a machinery sales and service operation for Titan Machinery located at at 1601 N Washington Street. The company is seeking to build a 23,000-square-foot building addition on their property.
Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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