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OPD sets spending list for $300,000 COPS grant

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Police Department has set its spending list for annual COPS grant funds. The grant is given to cities each year based on population.

City Council approved the department’s request to spend an estimated $300,000 on needed work details, equipment and technology Feb. 4.

Lt. Leonard Cosby said the decision on how to spend funds got input from all officers. Each branch looked at daily job demands, community concerns and statistics to weigh what resources would have the biggest impacts.

“Discussions start out on the line level and go back to the top,” Cosby said.

Cosby said decided on purchases compliment programs and practices in place. He described it as a system approach, and said he would not rate one purchase on the list over the others.

“No one program, and no one cop is going to be the answer,” Cosby said.

A staple on the annual list since 2004 is $103,000 to cover the majority of the salary and benefits for a school resource officer.

Oceanside has five school resource officers who are tasked to cover 44 schools within the city. Resource officers educate students in the classroom and patrol the school grounds.

Cosby said one of the biggest benefits is officers establish a relationship with students, and provide a safe source they can go to when they witness wrongdoing or become a victim of a crime.

“It’s a matter of communication,” Cosby said. “Students can make better decisions and not get dead-ended. The grant helps keep officers in those positions.”

Also on the purchase list is $63,631 for 60 tasers. Cosby said tasers have a lifespan of about seven years, and provide a lesser option than lethal force. He stressed it is important that all officers have a full set of equipment for the job.

“If an officer is deployed and doesn’t have one, it causes a breakdown in tactics,” Cosby.

Technology upgrades will also be purchased. They include $16,000 for 12 new laptops, $9,065 for a UFED forensic exam device, and $3,890 for an X CAT detection device to gather information under a search warrant from a cell phone.

Cosby said the department is constantly looking for the most effective ways to utilize funds in order to better serve the community.

He said body cameras might be on the list next year, after countywide protocol is set for the equipment. COPS grants have been awarded since 1996.