BRIDGEPORT — The Bridgeport Police Department has received a $125,000 grant to hire another full-time officer.
Deputy Chief Darby Copeland, who replaced Chief John Bumba in his absence, made the announcement at the Bridgeport Village Council meeting on Tuesday. The Department of Justice grant will help fund the salary of a full-time officer over a three-year period.
“It’s a federal grant to add an additional agent. There is a certain cost to the village, and that amounts to about $20,000. … The catch is in the fourth year, we have to retain that officer for a year, and then after that point we don’t have to retain him again,” Copeland said, adding that department heads have ideas for how they can maintain that position after grant funds run out.
Copeland said the addition of another officer will be useful for the village, as it helps in the event of a scheduling conflict or if an officer leaves for another department – something he has had trouble with in the past.
Copeland thanked village administrator Jesse Kosegi for his work securing the funds.
Kosegi said the grant is a 75-25 grant, with the village responsible for 25%.
“We got the maximum. … In 2021, the DOJ issued 183 United States law enforcement agencies, obtained this grant. It was in 2021 and I just found out. This year we are one of them. This is an ultra-competitive grant,” he said.
“It’s good for Bridgeport, it’s good for the community and we got it. Now the task is to decipher everything and how the federal government works with the grant and start doing what we need to do with it. »
Kosegi said he is currently working on securing another grant for the department – the Officer Retention Grant. He said the paperwork had been submitted but no word had been received on whether the village had secured the potential funds.
Copeland also gave the police chief’s report for the month. There have been 3,267 calls for service in the village to date. In August, more than 80 appeals resulted in 20 arrests and 52 citations. Added to the list is the tracking of the race and gender of people arrested during traffic checks.
“About 58% of the people we arrest are white men, about 25% are white women, about 8% are black men, and about 4% are black women. So it’s very representative of our population here in Bridgeport,” he said, adding that those numbers are submitted to the state every month.
Copeland said they have worked diligently on Ohio Collaborative certification in which they recently achieved Group 3 status. He said the department also submitted the paperwork for Group 4 certification.
“I was told that we would be certified within the week and that we will start our last group, which is group 5. It was a hell of a race. There are 670 law enforcement agencies in the state of Ohio. Only 107 are fully certified. We will be 108. he said as council members applauded the accomplishment. “We are really excited.”
Separately, Mayor Norma Teasdale said the Halloween Parade will take place at 5 p.m. on October 31 on Bennett Street and travel to Council Street, where the costume judging will take place. Trick or Treat will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. after the parade.
Additionally, Jack Regis Sr., a Democrat and Martins Ferry adviser challenging incumbent Republican Jerry Echemann for a seat on the Belmont County Board of Commissioners, briefly met with the board to introduce himself.
“I want to try to put a bit more transparency in the commissioners’ office and try to reach out to people to let them know what’s going on,” he said, adding that if elected, he planned to meet quarterly with township administrators and other officials to answer any questions they had. “I’m just asking for a chance to serve the people of Belmont County and I think if elected I would do a great job.”
Council also approved the hiring of two part-time police officers at an hourly rate of $17. Brice Allen and Alexander Ellerick were each hired on a 90-day trial period.