TERRA ALTA, W.Va. – The Town of Terra Alta has received a $185,050 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to improve its police force.
The grant comes from the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). Terra Alta was one of 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation to receive part of the total $400 million in funding, according to a DOJ press release.
Shanda Elkins, one of Terra Alta’s clerks, said they were very happy to be grant recipients and that the money would go toward expanding their depleted police force.
Well currently, we are down to nothing. We did have some part-time and full-time, but you know, because of retirements, or because of better opportunities, they have moved on, so we submitted for the grant to help us supplement. We’re a small town but we still get a little bit more crime than we would like.Shanda Elkins – Town Clerk
With the funding, Terra Alta will be able to hire two full-time officers, Elkins said. The Town was one of four municipalities to receive COPS grant funding in the Northern District of West Virginia:
- Elk Garden – $50,380
- Elkins Police Department – $109,375
- Ranson – $250,000
- Terra Alta – 185,050
The U.S. Attorney of West Virginia’s Northern District Bill Powell said in the release that he is confident the money provided to Terra Alta and other communities will be well spent.
“I have no doubt that each recipient will put this funding to good use, enhancing the good work already being done in the name of safety for our communities,” Powell said. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting residents and ensuring neighborhoods are crime-free as possible.”
Elkins said the grant is a 75/25 deal, meaning they have to supplement the grant with an additional 25 percent.
“This will put us in a position — and it’s over three years — so this will put us in a position where we can take and have two full-time officers for the next, I’m going to say, four years because in the fourth year we’re supposed to be able to supplement the whole thing ourselves,” Elkins said.
The best case scenario would be to expand beyond two full-time officers, to potentially hire more and even some part-time officers, Elkins said. However, she said the focus right now remains on the present because Terra Alta needs to get its police department restarted.