League staff is working to determine what details, if any, are available at this time regarding eligibility, distribution formulas, and any potential special conditions for cities to receive the grants. The only details provided in the budget trailer bill (AB 1497) stated that the grant formula is to be determined by the Board of State and Community Corrections in collaboration with the Department of Finance for a total of $20 million for city police departments statewide.
Representatives from Gov. Brown’s administration gave verbal confirmation that the grants are non-competitive and will be made available for three years through FY 2014-15, for a total of $60 million. The appropriation was made to help cities through the economic downturn in order to maintain their local police force. The administration offered that crime statistics may be part of the distribution formula but those details have not been confirmed.
The opportunity for the frontline police grants came to light in the Governor’s May Revise but were later made subject to the trigger cuts. The new frontline police grant money is separate from the Citizens’ Option for Public Safety (COPS) program that was fully funded along with other long-standing state public safety subvention grants. As cities may recall, last year under SB 89/AB 118, the historical city shares of the Vehicle License Fee revenue was swept from city general funds to instead fund the state public safety subvention grants.