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Oxnard Police Chief Jason Benites (Photo courtesy Oxnard Police Department)
Thursday, September 9, 2021

By Chris Frost

Tri County Sentry

Oxnard-- The City Council approved the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), Tuesday, September 7.


The approval authorizes City Manager Alex Nguyen to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with Ventura and the City of San Bonaventura that designates the City of Oxnard as the grant's lead agency and fiscal agent. 


Police Department Finance Manager Delia Campbell presented the item to the council and said the grant is $107,007 and the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding is state and local agencies.


"The funds can be used in a variety of ways to improve and enhance law enforcement programs, which may include the purchase of equipment, supplies, training, personnel, or other contractual agreements," she said. "There is no matching contribution that is required in order to apply for the grant. The JAG is a non-competitive formula-based grant that is developed by the federal government, using the data of the state's three-year violent crime average as well as population."


Oxnard will receive 57 percent of the grant award.


"The grant also allows us to charge a 10 percent administrative fee in order to cover our time in managing the grant as a whole," she said. "With the city's portion of $54,849, the department will use the funds to purchase ballistic equipment, as well as office equipment. 


Campbell noted that the unmanned aircraft the city submitted for is not eligible for grant funds. 


"We will be reviewing a list of other priorities of needed equipment in our department and then submit a modification of the application," she said. 


Councilman Bert Perello asked if removing the unmanned aircraft would change the item.


"We are allowed to submit a budget modification with a different ask," Campbell said. 


Councilman Gabe Teran said it sounds like it might be too early to know what the modification would be for the JAG.


"We do have a couple of items on our list, depending on the dollar amount, just because the dollar amount is fixed," Campbell said. "We'll be looking at the other items that we need."


Chief Jason Benites said historically; the department uses the money for training and equipment that makes it easier for the police department to do its job.


"We keep it simple with our purchases," he said. 


The item passed unanimously.