5.3 – Law Enforcement Assistance Available to Town Governments
Towns in Virginia have access to numerous state and federal assistance programs for law enforcement. Their most important source of state assistance is the VA «599» program. The Code of Virginia (9.1-165, et seq.) provides for financial assistance to localities with police departments through the «599» program. The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) administers the program that currently assists 40 cities, 9 counties, and 126 towns with direct funding.
To be eligible for «599» funds, a locality must have a police department, and the department's officers must meet the state's minimum training requirements. Massanutten Property Owners Association (MPOA) Special Conservators of the Peace currently meet these requirements, as they are Virginia state certified professional law enforcement officers. DCJS requires each participating jurisdiction to certify annually that it meets the eligibility criteria. Calculations to determine the distribution of «599» funds to localities are performed biennially by DCJS. The funds are allocated by a distribution formula which uses population, crime rates, and social services needs. All towns in Rockingham County receive funding from the «599» program and the current amounts are presented in the table in the next subsection. It is estimated that an incorporated town of Massanutten could receive more than $60,000 annually in grants from the «599» program to help fund its law enforcement operations.
The VA DCJS also offers several other grant programs that would be available to an incorporated town of Massanutten. They include the VA State Homeland Security Grant Program, Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, and the Regional Crime Information Sharing Networks Program. The specific amounts of DCJS funding from these programs for an incorporated town of Massanutten is beyond the scope of this study. But, it is worth noting the funding exists.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also has numerous grant programs available to localities. An incorporated town of Massanutten could have access to the following:
- Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) helps state and local governments to sustain and enhance their emergency management programs' effectiveness.
- Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP) helps states, territories, and local governments to improve interoperable emergency communications, including communications in collective response to natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters.
- Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program improves emergency management and preparedness capabilities by supporting flexible, sustainable, secure and interoperable EOCs to address identified deficiencies and needs.
- Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP) is for planning, training, exercises and equipment to states, territories, local and tribal governments to carry out initiatives identified in Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans, and improve interoperable emergency communications for responding to natural disasters and acts of terrorism.
The specific amount of DHS funding from these programs for an incorporated town of Massanutten is also beyond the scope of this study. But again, it is worth noting the funding exists.