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Berlin Police Feeling Delayed Impact of October Government Shutdown

Money promised to the department for the purchase of new bulletproof vests was reduced, marking the first impact that October’s shutdown has had on the community, according to Berlin Town Manager Denise McNair. Could more be in store?

Credit: Jason Vallee.
Credit: Jason Vallee.
It took a few months for the adverse effects of the federal government shutdown to trickle into local politics, but Berlin police are spending more money out of their own budget after falling victim to the impact of the October agreements.

Members of the Berlin Town Council last week approved a motion to allow the transfer of $3,738 between line items to address needs for bulletproof vests after a change in money promised left the town short of the funds needed for the replacement.

“In October, after sequester, (the town) was notified that grant funding for the program had been reduced from 50 percent to 37.1 percent, leaving an unexpected shortfall,” said Berlin Town Manager Denise McNair. “Police using funds from police vehicle accounts, vests in cruiser.

The town had initially approved a $15,000 line item in 2012 with the understanding that it would receive a matching grant for 50 percent of the costs, Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald said. The money was to be used in replacing old and outdated vests, which contain just a five-year lifespan.

With the vests out-of-date and the federal government reducing funding, he said the town needed to get creative to make up the difference and assure that officers have the tools they need to protect themselves.

The additional funding, $3,738, will be transferred from the police department’s cruiser maintenance and equipment account.

Although the town has only seen the one issue as a result of the shutdown so far, McNair said late last week that it is still difficult to tell what – if any – impact the reductions in federal funding as a result of the sequester will continue to have on the community.

Could additional fallout from the shutdown trickle to Connecticut towns? The simple answer, McNair said, is that it is too hard to tell.

“This is the first example, at least as far as I am aware, of a town that has lost grant money from that event,” she said. “There may be others in the future, or perhaps this program may have never been funded fully in first place and they are using that now as the reasoning. It’s still too early to tell.”

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Kathleen December 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM
....Nothing like the government screwing the government. Disgusting that it comes down to life saving equipment for people who put themselves in harms way as a form of employment. Years ago I though about law enforcement career. But then -no - too chicken. Firefighter too. Same thing. Sorry to report that I too am feeling the effects. The government has owed me money for the past year. All paperwork has been submitted and acknowledged /received -and -approved with payment pending. It was due to arrive in my mailbox 6 months ago. A phone call yesterday confirms another few months wait for my money to be returned- due to gov. shut down. In expressing desperation I was then warned that refunds for 2013 taxes will too be most certainly be delayed. As I continue to try and donate to the local food bank and area clothing boxes - I can not help to deny the fact that I am a paycheck away from becoming one who needs assistance. I was encouraged by a colleague last week to apply for a job as an Occupational therapist for the state of CT as I have 14 yrs in field. And this is how it went "....the pay, the benefits, the raises. Kathy, do you know I haven't even started my job yet with the state and I just got a phone call from human resources saying my hire rate just went up - yea- they had put a freeze on raises in early 2012 - and now they just pushed it thru for 2013. Retroactively." No joke. She still cannot grasp why I will not go work for the state. To me It's like joining the dark side.

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