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Darien PD to keep Sandy Hook reimbursement

Published 4:22 pm, Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Darien is one of 21 towns that opted to keep $14,105 from U.S. Department of Justice grant funds for its assistance in the days following the shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, instead of letting the funds be used for police response training.

From Dec. 17 to Jan. 14, 23 Darien officers provided assistance to the Newtown Police Department, totaling $22,923.77.

"If it was a smaller amount, it would be worthwhile to send back to the state," Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello said.

The funds Darien received from the grant will become revenue for the town and go into the general fund, according to town Finance Director Kathleen Buch.

Of the $22,923 paid to the Darien police officers for their assistance in Newtown, only $5,629.19 was accumulated through regular worked hours. The majority of the work was overtime pay.

The Connecticut Office of Policy Management and Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division received approximately $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Justice for reimbursement of costs directly related to police tactical response to Sandy Hook.

Allowed reimbursement from the Justice Assistance Grant program were for "police tactical response" only -- based upon established federal parameters for using funds emanating from that grant program as governed by federal law and regulation, according to John Forbes, the assistant division director for the criminal justice policy and planning division of the OPM.

The remaining $8,843 that was paid to the officers, but not reimbursed through the grant, was accumulated through officers' mutual aid with victim assistance, which includes assisting victims' families, patrolling victims' homes and funeral and memorial service escorts.

Eleven of the 21 towns that opted to keep the reimbursement received more than $10,000.

None of the seven towns that gave the money to the Police Officer Standards and Training Council received more than $10,000. Twenty-eight towns submitted cost estimates to the Office of Policy Management.

Avon, Coventry, New Canaan, Brookfield, Southington, Watertown and Middletown waived the grant reimbursement, totalling $28,765.69. More than $250,000 was kept from the other 21 towns.

An additional multimillion-dollar grant to address Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting costs associated with victim issues and long-term community impacts is being administered though the Domestic Terrorism and Mass Casualty grant from the Judicial Branch's Office of Victim Services, according to Forbes.

Darien applied for the grant for the remaining $8,843 not covered by the DOJ grant on March 6.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583;@Meg_DarienNews