More money that candidate Munsterman will surely want to send back to Washington: The Watertown Police Department is receiving nearly 1.6 million soul-sapping federal dollars in the form of a grant (grant! free money! pennies from heaven, right?) to support the Northeast South Dakota Rural Information Exchange Model. The money will cover salaries and benefits for three new communications officers for the next two years. It will also buy new communications equipment and 45 laptop computers for other PDs in the Codington-Hamlin-Day-Grant-Roberts metroplex.
The Munsterman-Thune-conservative argument here should be, "Federal money is bad! Send it back! We can pay for our own police!" The pragmatic argument holding sway in Watertown appears to be, "We can use the new staff and equipment to better communicate and catch bad guys for at least a couple years."
It is perhaps worth noting that Watertown is saying yes to apparently temporary funding for new hires. In a similar situation, the Mitchell City Commission recently turned down federal dollars that would have covered a new community resource officer for three years.
It may also be worth noting that the KELO story on the Watertown PD grant assiduously avoids noting that the money helping to make KELOLand a safer place is coming from the Assistance to Rural Law Enforcement to Combat Crime and Drugs Program, part of the Department of Justice's chunk of the federal stimulus package, voted for by Senator Tim Johnson but voted against by Senator John Thune. How did that detail not make the story?
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