The Gloversville and Johnstown police departments recently received state grants totaling $27,500 with the help of state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna.
Peter A. Edman, an aide for Farley, said the state awarded the local police departments funding the senator was able to obtain through state Division of Criminal Justice Services' Justice Assistance Grant, or JAG program. He said the program uses federal dollars filtered down through the state through the former Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Program.
He said the Gloversville Police Department was awarded $20,000 and the Johnstown Police Department was awarded $7,500. Edman said Farley wanted to see if he could do something near the end of the state legislative session to help Fulton County's police departments.
"The senator was aware particularly of the difficulties Gloversville was facing," Edman said.
Edman said the police departments didn't apply for the funding, and as of Wednesday afternoon, hadn't been notified about the money yet.
He said there is a wide "flexibility" for what the money can be used for, and it is up to the departments. He said the money can't be used for vehicles or construction.
Capt, John Sira, a spokesman for the Gloversville Police Department, said Wednesday he spoke to Edman about the grant.
"After years of diminishing programs, every little bit helps," he said.
Sira said the funding may be used for equipment or in another way to "further our mission" to keep Gloversville residents safe.
Johnstown police Chief Mark Gifford couldn't be reached for comment.
According to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services' website, JAG program funding is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions.
The JAG program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and was created in 2005 by merging the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Program with the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program.
The site says JAG funding can be used to "support a broad range of state and local government projects, including those designed to prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system."
It must be used to supplement existing funds for program activities and cannot replace, or supplant, non-federal funds that have been appropriated for the same purpose.
The money can be used for state and local initiatives, technical assistance, training, personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and information systems for criminal justice for any one or more of the following purpose areas: law enforcement programs, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections programs, drug treatment programs; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs; and crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation).
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.