Joseph Towner – Community Service Grants

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“Community Service Grants”

The $100 million shall be given as grant money and be divided proportionally to certain states to begin the Community Service Grants program (CSGs). States will be chosen according to need. Cities are struggling and they are strapped for cash. My CSG program is aimed to address these issues by reducing spending in the area that is putting the most strain on city budgets around the country, public safety.

It is not uncommon for the highest paid city employees to not be department head. Often times they are police sergeants and other personnel who can bring in more than $200,000 a year! With city governments sometimes spending upwards of 70% of their budget on public safety (Police & Fire), I believe it is in the interest of the people to put their money to better use. This is why I am reinvesting the money back to tax payers with hopes of lowering city spending on police.

The CSG program is simple. It will work with cities to train and employ citizens to perform many of the duties that public safety workers perform but at a lower cost. The grants will pay for the training and partially for the employment of Community Service Officers (CSOs). These CSOs will work for the cities and work side by side with the police force. They will act as a liaison between citizens and the police and will handle many of the issues that sworn police officers normally would. For every one serious crime, there are a dozens of petty matters that take place in a city. These petty matters can easily be handled by the part-time CSOs rather than officers. Using CSOs instead will allow public safety personnel to spend time doing more important work thus making their workday more productive and requiring less of them.

Overtime pay is a major contributor to budget deficits. Some officers can boost their salaries by an extra $30k – $60k a year as a result of this extra pay. Using part-time CSOs, who are not receiving all the costly benefits as police, to fill in where police are not required can greatly reduce costs. Cities can use them to supplement or even replace police presence on school campuses, community events, and a number of other community areas. They can also be used to patrol areas police normally would as a cost effective way to report any crimes. The options for how CSOs can be used are limitless. Each state will be in charge of distributing grants while the federal government will establish grant guidelines.

The goal of my plan is not to eliminate all police officers. The purpose of it is to revamp public safety by allowing police officers to use more of their time doing what they are sworn to do, which is to protect and to serve. I believe that motto not only refers to crime but to also protect citizens from over paying for their services, and to serve them as efficiently as possible.


Read other finalist essays for the GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship.

– Evan White – “Promise Neighborhoods for a Promising Future”

– Mark Van Horn – “Using Computer Games to Simulate Policy Problems in the United States”

– Mauricio Cifuentes – “The Social Innovation Fund: Implementing Effective Bottom-up Solutions”

– Jay Sher – “Federal R&D Prizes for Technological Investment and Innovation”

– Danny Vasconcellos – “Government Getting it Right: The GAO”

– Kevin Sonoff – “Primary and Secondary Education: The Path to Recovery”

– Maggie Healy – “Funding the Information Age, Beyond Infrastructure”

– Alex Luboff – “A Fiscal, Social, and Environmental Sustainability: Urban Agriculture Fighting Poverty”

– Elizabeth Selbst – “Fund Local Land Banking to Reverse Urban Sprawl”

– Neil Patrick Reilly – “A Boost to Rentals and Public Housing”

– Lee Blum – “The World’s Best Vocational Institute”

– Brian Footer – “Local Government Grant Program”

– Peter Thomas – “Government Knowing Its Constituents”

– Daniel Turner – “Invest in the Future”

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