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Grants help Ripon Police with staffing
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RIPON — Dollars don’t stretch quite as far as they did when Ripon Police Chief Richard Bull first took over the reins of the Ripon department.

When the decision was first made on how to allocate the annual Cal-Cops Frontline grant, Bull said that the decision was made to spend the $100,000 on an investigative officer as well as a community service officer. The idea was to help the department maximize their resources and save money in the process.

With the cost of a full-time investigator with benefits now easily beyond $100,000, Bull estimates that that grant – that will require the approval of the City Council when they meet on Tuesday, Aug. 18 – will be able to offset roughly $78,000 worth of the salary of one of the officers that handles Ripon’s more serious crimes.

“Every year the state threatens to take that money away, and every year since 2001 we’ve been lucky enough to receive that grant,” Chief Richard Bull said. “In all honesty I’d be concerned if we lost this grant because that would mean that we’d be in danger of possibly losing the position that it helps fund – there isn’t the money to hire specialized officers like that anywhere right now.”

While departments all across the state are taking a closer look at their books to determine how to pay the officers that they have, Ripon has remained on the cutting edge of both technology and financing through an aggressive grant-searching program that has yielded everything from special training to a community-wide emergency response system that is set to up and will be running relatively soon.

And all of that for a department that already has wireless cameras that allow officers to view sections of town from the comfort of their patrol car and makes the dispatchers who monitor the activity from the state-of-the-art facility even more valuable.

Even though Bull says that it’s tougher now to qualify for such grants because of the top-to-bottom shortage of funding, the Ripon Police Department is set to qualify for a $120,000 Department of Traffic Safety grant that will allow for both DUI saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints that will help make the roads safer in a city known for it’s family-friendly attitude.
Without those options, Bull said, the level of service that the residents of Ripon have grown to expect would decrease significantly.

“If we didn’t qualify for these grants, we wouldn’t have the personnel that we have right now – it’ as simple as that,” Bull said. “When it comes to grants like the one we’re hoping to receive from the OTS next month, that really helps us out on busy weekends when we want to keep the drinking drivers off of the roadway.

“These grants have been instrumental to our success.”