Local law agencies apply for federal grants

Lawton_Folks in Lawton and Comanche County might see more badges on the streets. The Sheriff's Department and the Lawton police department hope a federal grant to beef up their ranks will be okayed.  It's called the "COPS Hiring Recovery Program".

It has been available before, but this year there is much more at stake...one billion dollars more. The sheriff's and police departments have been working hard this week putting the final touches on their cops applications, all to put more law enforcement officers on the streets. "Right now, sometimes we have two to three out on patrol for the entire county. This will put one more person out on patrol per shift," Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said.

The sheriff's department is asking for three deputies and the police department is asking for twelve officers.  "That's all 'COP' is about, working with your community to combat crime to make your community safer," said LPD Deputy Chief Michael Johnson.

The grant would pay for their salaries and benefits for three years, but there is a catch. After the three years is up, the city and county would have to pay those salaries for up to one year. "This one is a little bit easier for us because we have one year where before, we have had to keep them for three years," said Sheriff Stradley

Deputy Chief Johnson said the funding couldn't come at a better time, since Lawton will soon grow by thousands because of Fort Sill's new mission connected to BRAC. "10,000 additional soldiers and support personnel and families is going to have a dramatic impact on the Lawton Police Department."

Johnson also said the competition for the federal grant money is especially fierce this year. When he called the Department of Justice last week, they had already received 4,500 applications.