With “Flexibility” Being The Key Word, Everett Council Votes 6 – 1 To Accept COPS Grant

September 2, 2020

Everett Government

In July 2019 Meg Dibucci was named EPD’s full time Recruitment Officer. Photo credit: Everett PD

In a reversal from a week ago, six of seven members of the City Council in Everett, Washington voted to accept a grant of just over six million dollars from the Federal Government COPS program that would allow the city to hire up to 16 police officers over the next three to six years.

Last week the city council failed to second a motion by councilmember Bader to accept a grant that would allow acceptance of the grant. Here is our link to that story.

In the time since, public outcry was huge with Councilmember Bader tonight remarking that it was the largest amount of public input in his time on the council with people weighing in on both sides of the issue.

Tonight’s deliberations began with an explanation to the council by Police Chief Dan Templeman who reminded the council he first brought the grant up to them on July 27th with a follow-up on August 18th and briefing on August 19th. Templeman added he didn’t say it on the 19th but the COPS Grant can go past the three years mentioned and could be extended for up to an additional three years. He also stated that concerns expressed over conditions in the grant requiring cooperation with Section 25 that covers ICE and immigration policies would have no affect on how Everett currently deals with immigration.

Finally Templeman explained that the grant can be used on a 1 to 1 basis. In other words Everett currently has 13 budgeted positions funded that are vacant. The City can hire 1 police officer from the general fund and then another with the COPS grant and then again 1 from the general fund and the next from the COPS grant continuing on a rotational basis.

Almost all of the council members mentioned the flexibility of the grant and the additional information received this week from the police administration and the city’s administration and legal department.

Councilmember Stonecipher mentioned the flexibility and the city administration’s commitment to an operational assessment of the police department to inform staffing levels and future efficiencies. She also mentioned that the process for approving grants did not work well this time.

Councilmember Bader who again made the motion to approve said he was keeping in mind that the City has huge budget challenges moving forward.

Councilmember Murphy noted he had multiple conversations with the police chief, deputy mayor and finance director about the financial ramifications and now had a clearer picture of the flexibility and added that this has been a bit like making sausage and not always a pretty picture.

Councilmember Roberts said the process has given the city the opportunity to tell the public Everett has a budget crisis and that people now see that any action we take, even getting a grant, draws from the general fund. He also mentioned the 80 pages of conditions in the grant and this is not “free money”.

Councilmember Vogeli noted her advantages in being a white home owner in Everett and how that factors in how she is treated by the Everett Police Department and related that is not a position others in Everett find themselves. She also noted accepting the grant won’t fix the City’s funding issues.

Councilmember Moore spoke to a hiring plan not being sustainable but the grant has the ability for the city to adapt to the changing conditions. He said the beauty of the grant is the flexibility.

Council President Tuohy said she believes the staff will lay out the plan with full flexibility.

Councilmember Vogeli voted no while the other six councilmembers voted in favor of accepting the grant. It will now be up to the Police department and City Administration to lay out the hiring plan, decide how many officers to accept under the grant and bring that back to City Council.

After the vote the Everett Police Officers Association issued the following statement.

In a 6-1 vote the Everett City Council has approved accepting a 6 Million dollar COPS Grant that will allow #Everett to hire up to 16 officers. The EPOA would like to thank Chief Templeman for his non-stop work educating and providing the needed information for City Council. Thank you City Council for reconsidering your positions and ultimately supporting the Everett Police Department and the grant. Also, City Council members; thank you for publically supporting the amazing job Chief Templeman does daily for our community. Lastly, THANK YOU to the citizens who responded and contacted your elected officials. Your VOICES were heard. Very much appreciated and humbled by the support!

Sometime tomorrow you should be able to view all of the comments and discussion at this link on the city’s website.

Here is the grant application

Everett PD COPS Grant Award

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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