Money awaits law enforcement
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Rock County agencies are eligible for $296,049 and Walworth County agencies for $38,303.
The information, however, is preliminary, officials said. The agencies will be required to apply for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which then are allocated based on a number of factors, including population, crime rate and the involvement of multiple agencies, they said.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
-- The Rock County Sheriff's Office is eligible for $43,889
-- The Janesville Police Department is eligible for $122,888
-- The Beloit Police Department is eligible for $129,272
-- The Delavan Police Department is eligible for $11,438
-- The Whitewater Police Department is eligible for $10,640
-- The Lake Geneva Police Department is eligible for $16,225
"That is a considerable amount of money," said Janesville Deputy Police Chief Dave Moore.
But the department hasn't determined how it would use the money.
"We haven't had that talk," Moore said. "To go from last year with no funding to this year with considerable funding will take some very careful planning."
While the department has in previous years used grant money to purchase equipment for squad cars, bike patrols and drug investigations, such a significant amount of money could be used for more than equipment, he said.
Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said he would allocate grant money toward the Rock County Special Investigations Unit, which includes the sheriff's office and rural police departments, to combat a growing heroin problem.
"Any money we would be able to obtain through grants or through the stimulus package are earmarked for that issue," he said. "We view that as a serious community safety issue."
Delavan Police Chief Tim O'Neill said his department has plans to purchase a hybrid vehicle for non-patrol use.
But the department might not be at the top of the list for receiving money, he said. The department received about $25,000 in 2008 to upgrade its 911 system to track calls made from cell phones and about $75,000 in 2006 to upgrade its dispatch center.
"We don't have that answer yet," O'Neill said.
Officials said they're keeping a close eye on the U.S. Department of Justice for more information about the grants and application requirements and deadlines.