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Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, created by Congress, has $10 million to spend in Oregon

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - The Department of Justice announced last week it has $850 million in aid available to states. In Oregon, that means agencies are eligible to receive a total of nearly $10 million in supplemental funding.

The outbreak of COVID-19 represents a unique challenge for public safety agencies, a scourge the likes of which has not been seen in Oregon for many generations.

Personnel at police departments, sheriff's offices, and state police stations are stretched thin after some have contracted the dreaded disease — all while there are increasing numbers of calls from the public.

But there's some reason for optimism after the federal Department of Justice announced last week it has $850 million in aid available to states. In Oregon, that means agencies are eligible to receive a total of nearly $10 million in supplemental funding.

The federal money, dubbed by Congress the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, was signed by President Trump last week and is expected to begin being available this week.

"In a matter of weeks, I have seen countless examples from across our state and country of law enforcement officers and other public professionals going far above and beyond their regular duties to serve our communities in this time of great need," U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a release. "I'm pleased to join the department in announcing this much-needed funding and will do everything in my power to expedite its distribution to eligible law enforcement agencies here in Oregon."

The creation of the fund was well received by the law enforcement community last week.

"This is an unprecedented moment in our nation's history and an especially dangerous one for our frontline law enforcement officers, corrections officials and public safety professionals," Katharine Sullivan, a federal deputy assistant attorney general, said in the release. "We are grateful to Congress for making these resources available and for the show of support this program represents."

Funds can be used to hire personnel, pay overtime costs, purchase protective equipment and supplies, address correctional inmates' medical needs and defray expenses incurred while distributing resources to hard-hit areas.

The funds will remain available for at least 60 says through the DOJ's Office of Justice Programs, which will fund applicants on a rolling basis as applications are received. The funds may be applied retroactively to January.

Visit the Bureau of Justice Assistance website for more information about the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program.

Visit the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information about the Office of Justice Programs.


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