Shrewsbury seeks federal money for police gear

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Photo by/Dakota Antelman
The Shrewsbury Police department operates out of its police station on Maple Ave.

By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – Police might soon get federal funding to buy new gear and materials thanks to a grant opportunity noted by US Congressman James McGovern.

Representing Shrewsbury as part of the larger 2nd Massachusetts Congressional District, McGovern recently reached out to Town Manager Kevin Mizikar about a new program known as Federal Community Directed Funding. 

Speaking with Selectmen, in turn, Mizikar framed this grant opportunity as a partial replacement for the “good old-fashioned” earmark system, which allowed individual members of Congress to work with constituents and local governments to bring extra cash home to their districts. 

“We just received this about ten days ago,” Mizikar explained March 30. “Given the window that the Congressman’s office was given, it’s kind of limited.” 

Discussing applications for possible federal grant money, Mizikar directed attention to “community-oriented policing services” that the Shrewsbury Police are currently undertaking.  

As these programs are popular means of building goodwill and trust with individual community members, Mizikar said Shrewsbury could specifically put federal dollars toward “the five-year infrastructure surrounding [a] potential police body camera program.”

“I would propose that the Board authorize me to work with the Chief of Police to submit the details needed to the Congressman’s office for funding,” Mizikar concluded, seeking approval to move forward with this process.

This funding opportunity comes while town officials await potentially broader federal payouts from recent COVID-19 economic stimulus legislation. 

Likewise, it comes amid an ongoing conversation about the future of the now 50-year-old Shrewsbury Police Station. 

After a most recent round of renovations in 2017, voters at Shrewsbury’s May 2019 town meeting approved $300,000 in spending to study and pre-plan future projects at both the Police Station and its adjoining Town Hall and Senior Center spaces.

Selectmen did approve Mizikar’s request to actually file this grant request.