Both the Independence and Sugar Creek police departments are on the receiving end of a federal grant to hire new officers.

Both the Independence and Sugar Creek police departments are on the receiving end of a federal grant to hire new officers.
Independence received $543,393 to hire three officers and Sugar Creek received $158,847 to hire one additional officer through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, which allocated $1 billion to fund the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers all across the country.
Independence will use the funds to staff two full-time detectives for its gang investigative unit and one full-time detective for assignment to the Career Criminal Unit.
Independence Police Capt. John Cato said the Department of Justice received more than 7,200 applications for more than 39,000 officer positions nationwide. Missouri submitted 243 applications and only 14 were granted funding.
“We feel pretty happy with what we got,” Cato said. “We feel pretty privileged. Every little bit helps.”
Asked if the department was worried if some voters in Independence would think since the city received the grant that the department doesn’t need the approval of a three-eighths of 1 percent sales tax on Tuesday’s ballot, Cato said: “I hope that they don’t.”
If approved, the police services sales tax would fund an additional 60 police officers and support staff members.
“We have expressed to them the need for an extensive enlargement of the force,” Cato said. “When we are looking at the potential need that we have, three more officers will not make a big enough impact to offset that need. Although we are grateful for the three new officers, in the scheme of things, this just starts us on our way.”
The Recovery Act grants will be administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services through the federal agency’s COPS Hiring Recovery Program.
Sugar Creek plans to use the funds to staff a full-time community officer, said Sugar Creek Police Capt. Richard Hodges.
“A lot of the officer’s duties will involve more local involvement – setting up block watch programs and things of that nature,” Hodges said. “It will be more of community policing moreso than street patrol.”
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II announced Tuesday more than $9 million in grants had been awarded to hire police in Missouri’s Fifth District, which includes Independence, Kansas City, Sugar Creek, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Belton, Raymore and Peculiar.
Kansas City was awarded $8.3 million to hire 50 officers.