Public safety agencies in Frederick County are eligible to receive $139,253 in federal funding to assist their efforts to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
The funding is part of $6.6 million set aside for agencies in Maryland in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, according to the release issued Tuesday afternoon. Because both Frederick city and the county were eligible to receive DOJ funds in Fiscal 2019 from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, both city police and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office were automatically eligible for the emergency supplemental funding, as well.
While Frederick city was eligible to receive $96,923 of the total, the remaining $42,330 was set aside for the sheriff’s office, according to a department of justice breakdown of state fund awards.
“Additional funding is always helpful and appreciated as unanticipated expenditures arise in crisis situations such as this event,” said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Taylor Clarke when reached for comment Wednesday. “It certainly helps us to better prepare for the future.”
As funds earmarked for local responses to the spread of COVID-19, the money must be used “to prevent, prepare for or respond to the coronavirus,” according to a guide sheet for solicitations provided by the DOJ. Aside from that, the conditions placed on spending were fairly open-ended.
“Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses (particularly related to the distribution of resources to the most impacted areas), and addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers,” the guideline reads in part.
Provisions were even set forward if an agency wished to use the funds to purchase an unmanned aircraft, such as a drone, though such a purchase needed to be approved before funds were allocated.
Both the Frederick Police Department and the sheriff’s office planned to use any available funding to shore up their stockpiles of personal protective equipment and other items.
“The city plans to use the grant funds to purchase bulk supplies of PPE to include: N95 masks, nitrile gloves, biohazard bags [and] isolation gowns,” said Sgt. Matt Carrado, a spokesman for the Frederick police. “We also plan on purchasing several UV light sanitization stations in order for used N95 masks to be disinfected and possibly reused.”
In addition to PPE, Clarke said the sheriff’s office plans to spend some of its allocation on training for personnel, as well as additional protective measures at the county adult detention center.
Clarke said while the funding for the county will go to the sheriff’s office, the agency works with all public safety organizations, including the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Service, to combat the virus.
“As is always the case if a need arises in the fire service and other local law enforcement, we share resources to assist upon request or need identified,” Clarke said.
Applications for the funds must be submitted by the end of the month and both the city police department and the sheriff’s office were both working to finalize their formal requests for funding. No clear date for the funding to arrive was available, but a handful of other eligible jurisdictions, including Baltimore and Allegany counties, had already received their allotments, according to Tuesday’s release.