DOJ changed Selma police request

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An administrative move by the COPS division of the U.S. Justice Department made Selma officials look like they didn’t ask for what they said they did in a recent COPS grant application.

The federal agency changed the number on the Selma Police Department application from nine officers to two, said Gilbert Moore, a spokesman for the Justice Department’s COPS division.

Recently, Selma received three years of salaries and benefits for two police officers in the grant.

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A total of 44 jurisdictions in Alabama received officers under the grants announced about a week ago.

The Selma application was changed without the police department’s notice because of a 5 percent restriction on hiring new officers.

“We didn’t reach out to the agencies that just requested new hires,” Moore said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Community Development Director Charlotte Griffeth said she had asked about the matter and was told the Justice Department did not contact the city as it usually does when grants are changed.

Selma’s application was ranked No. 1 among those submitted by Alabama municipal police departments, according to Griffeth.

“We are glad to get those two police officers,” she said.