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Grant will pay for resource officers in Burbank

U.S. Department of Justice funds will make more resource officers available.

September 21, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

The Burbank Police Department received a $375,000 federal grant this week to restore three school resource officer positions, pleasing city and school officials who after years of budget cuts were left with just one officer in that role. 

Using a U.S. Department of Justice grant, the department is slated to hire the new officers for three years, according to a news release issued by Rep. Adam Schiff's office. 

During the last decade in Burbank, the number of school resource officers dwindled from six to one in Burbank Unified schools as the city dealt with budget issues year after year. 

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Currently, the sole officer responds primarily to problems at Burbank's high schools, officials said.

The additional manpower, officials said, will allow the department to more effectively respond to the schools' needs. 

“We'll put it to good use,” Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse said of the grant. 

Schiff (D-Burbank) has fought to maintain federal funding for the grant program, which in the past has been on the chopping block, he said. 

“Additionally, my staff has worked with cities and police departments in our community to inform them of grant opportunities like this one, and to support their applications,” Schiff said in a statement. 

Burbank Unified superintendent Jan Britz thanked the congressman and said the funds will provide greater resources for the community and children. 

“I look forward to working with Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse to develop an implementation and action plan that will benefit all of our schools,” Britz said in a statement. 

The grant — awarded by the agency's office of community-oriented policing — is part of a statewide effort to distribute $20 million to 39 agencies to create 105 new law enforcement positions. Grantees were selected based on local crime rates, community policing strategies and fiscal needs, according to the agency. 

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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