City to seek funding for cop to patrol Ellis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2001

The Austin City Council is going ahead with plans to seek funding for hiring an extra police officer to patrol the hallways of Ellis Middle School.

Thursday, May 24, 2001

The Austin City Council is going ahead with plans to seek funding for hiring an extra police officer to patrol the hallways of Ellis Middle School.

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The council’s personnel/finance committee approved a request from Travis Heickley to apply for a $125,000 grant to fund the hiring of an officer to patrol the single-largest school facility in the Austin Independent School District and housing sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students on the city’s east side.

Heickley will apply for the funding from the COPS Program.

The city will be required to pay any additional costs above the $125,000 mark and to keep the individual hired employed for one additional year after the three-year grant expires.

Security issues for students and teachers at Ellis Middle School have escalated in the 2000-2001 school year.

Heickley, a former full-time officer with the Austin Police Department, is a police liaison officer at Austin High School and the new position would be patterned after his.

City Administrator Patrick A. McGarvey told council members that requests for COPS Program grant monies far exceed the money available.

However, McGarvey said the only requests being funded are for officers assigned to schools.

By McGarvey’s calculations, there is $180 million available for COPS positions in fiscal 2002.

"It is unlikely we will receive any federal funds for the two additional positions being considered for the Austin Police Department," McGarvey informed the council members.

Police Chief Paul M. Philipp expects to have one additional police officer funded for the department, which has faced continuing personnel shortages in recent years.

The personnel crunch comes at a time, the department is losing many of its veteran officers, who are retiring.

Meanwhile, public safety issues continue to grow and with it the public’s concern that enough officers are available to protect and serve Austin.

In other action Monday night, the Austin City Council:

n Accepted the recommendation of attorney Steven J. Hovey to accept a subrogation agreement arising out of medical expenses the city paid for injuries sustained by Matthew Jenkins.

n Approved seeking bids for the June 4 council meeting for mosquito spraying this summer in the city. Plans call for four different sprayings throughout the season.

n Approved spending $4,000 for a flag and pole to be erected at Veterans Pavilion, the former St. Paul Lutheran Church building now being converted into a public pavilion. A subcommittee of the SPAMTOWN USA Festival committee had requested the city’s assistance. The new Veterans Pavilion will be formally dedicated July 8.

n Approved a developer’s agreement with Mower County for new water, sewer and street improvements in the Dinsmoor Acres residential subdivision. When the two-phase project is complete sometime in 2002, the costs will be assessed the property owners and the city will annex the area.

n Adopted the recommendation of the Austin Park Board to apply for $4,000 for trail assistance monies from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

n Approved 13 orderly annexation agreements with residents of Austin Homesteads and Austin Acres in southwest Austin.

Call Lee Bonorden at 434-2232 or e-mail him at