The University of Richmond Police Department was recently awarded an $18,156 grant by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services to fund overtime hours and support its role in UR’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant, awarded on Oct. 6, will provide funding for personal protective equipment for first responders on campus, Police Captain Eric Beatty said. It will also fund 160 overtime hours to compensate officers who worked to coordinate virus testing when students were returning to campus, he said.
The DCJS distributes federal and state funding to localities, state agencies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of law enforcement, according to its website. Guidelines for this specific grant, which is called the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant, can be found here.
Beatty drafted a budget that would cover the 160 overtime hours and the URPD’s PPE needs and applied for the grant near the end of June at the request of Police Chief David McCoy, Beatty said.
The funds will cover PPE for first responders, including face shields, protective eyewear, gloves, gowns, hazmat bags, masks and thermometers, according to a UR media release about the grant posted on Oct. 6.
The URPD needed the grant because these expenses were unanticipated and not accounted for in a typical operational budget, Beatty said.
“When someone on campus becomes ill for any reason, the first person they often encounter is a URPD officer,” Beatty said. “These funds will keep us safe as we respond to the needs of our campus.”
Dean of Richmond College Joe Boehman underscored the importance of the URPD in UR’s COVID-19 response effort, echoing Beatty’s point that officers are often the first responders to potential virus cases on campus.
“It’s very possible that the individual [an officer is] interacting with may be positive, may be an asymptomatic individual,” Boehman said. “So, what the grant allows them to do is to have appropriate PPE so that they can go in a situation and be safe.”
Junior Ciara Mullen said she hoped that the funds would be used appropriately by the URPD, as that would aid officers in keeping students on campus safe.
"If [the grant] really is being used for things that are supposed to be helping for COVID, then I think that's great," Mullen said.
Contact news writer Alan Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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