Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $165,000)
New Massachusetts police reform legislation mandates full-time training for officers regardless of their employment status. The cost to train part-time officers will be too great to justify for small, rural communities and, once trained, the officers are ideal candidates for full-time positions in larger communities. This will also potentially force small communities to cover the cost again and again as they rehire to replace those who left to take full-time positions elsewhere.
The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) serves the 26 rural municipalities of Franklin County, Massachusetts. The purpose of this project is for the FRCOG to help Franklin County towns reduce or eliminate reliance on part-time police officers. To do this, we will conduct a study to identify alternatives. The study will consider such options as: sharing officers between towns; merging police departments to create greater economies of scale; eliminating small, rural forces altogether and relying on state police; using the county sheriff to provide a pool of full-time officers for towns to use. Once alternatives have been assessed and vetted, the FRCOG will work with municipal officials to implement the preferred alternative(s). Beneficiaries to this project will be the municipalities of Franklin County that will have a long-term, financially sustainable plan for police coverage in their communities and the citizens of Franklin County that will be assured of adequate, improved police coverage.
There will be no sub-recipient activities except for the hiring of an expert consultant to assist with identification and analysis of alternatives.