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police & fire

Mount Vernon Police Find Grants Funds Hard To Get

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Police Commissioner Carl Bell said Tuesday night that SNUG, a program aimed at defusing gun violence, is a great program, but the competition for funding for such programs on the state and federal levels is stiff, and Mount Vernon is not high on the list for what is available.

The chief made his comments Tuesday night to the Mount Vernon City Council to illustrate what the city is up against in it bid to fight violent crime. The city used to have a SNUG program, but lost its funding.

SNUG isn’t a police program, but a program set up by community members to stop problems on the street before they escalate, Bell said. The mentors in the SNUG program integrate into the communities to learn about it and who the “hot heads” are, but seldom interact with police officers.

Bell said it is hard to get the money because cities such as Newburgh, Kingston and Poughkeepsie – to name three in New York state alone – have higher crime rates than Mount Vernon and are more likely to receive these types of grants from the federal and state governments.

“We get as much money in a year as these places get in a week,” Bell said. “Our numbers show a decrease in crime, so they say we don’t need it. We are a closer-knit community and more in tune with the people who are victims, so it might affect us more than other communities. Still, Newburgh, as small as it is, will end up with more homicides per year than we do.”

There is not much money available in Mount Vernon to implement some programs, Bell said. The Police Association raises approximately $20,000 per year, which mostly goes to youth programs such as the Mount Vernon Explorers, which introduces youngsters to law enforcement.

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