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Funding will pay for COVID-19 expenses, including gear, overtime
A U.S. Department of Justice grant will provide more than $119,000 to McKeesport to help support police operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant from the federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program was announced this week by U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady in Pittsburgh.
The public safety funds can be used for the most pressing needs of state and local law-enforcement agencies, including new hiring and overtime pay, training, personal protective equipment and supplies and medical needs of prisoners.
At the May 6 council meeting, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said overtime for employees was becoming a concern for city officials.
“We are extremely grateful to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to better equip the McKeesport Police Department with the manpower, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies necessary to ensure our officers’ safety during these uncertain times, when our society is deeply affected by COVID-19,” Cherepko said in a prepared statement.
“Our daily procedures and interactions are impacted by the standards set forth by national and state leaders, and McKeesport police will continue to operate under the recommended guidelines thanks to this funding,” he said.
In addition, Brady said, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency has been awarded $17.6 million in grants that can be distributed to eligible governmental agencies throughout Pennsylvania, including western Pennsylvania.
Agencies that were eligible for grants from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program are candidates for the emergency funding, said a spokeswoman for Brady’s office.
The Justice Department is awarding grants on a rolling basis, she said. Applications are due by May 29.
Brady said he hopes that eligible police agencies will apply promptly.
“McKeesport police officers shoulder a great responsibility in carrying out their sworn duty to protect and serve, especially during this public health crisis,” Brady said in a prepared statement.
“I am hopeful this $119,006 from the Justice Department will help McKeesport police officers in their public safety duties while also ensuring their own health and safety,” he said. “I also encourage all of our local law enforcement agencies to apply for these critical grants.”
Other area communities that have been awarded funding under the program include Penn Hills ($51,535), Pittsburgh ($676,895) and Wilkinsburg ($45,636).
Originally published May 22, 2020.