By Steven Tavares

San Leandro is one of many
municipalities, announced today,
 receiving funding from the
Justice Department.

Help is on the way from the federal government. San Leandro officials say the city will receive a $2.4 million grant, they say, will fund up to five uniformed police officers over the next three years.

The police force currently numbers 90, but faces cuts to seven officers in the next year, if not for additional resources and a successful passage of the city’s sales tax initiative–Measure Z–but, the federal grant will go far to help, said San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis. “We’re very happy today,” he said.

Depending on numerous factors, the department will be able to at least stop the bleeding as the city and state fight steep drops in revenue amid soaring costs. Willis is set to retire upon the city hiring his replacement, possibly some time in the new year.

“We’re now going to have the officers out there that the people are asking for,” said an upbeat San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, who along with City Manager Stephen Hollister personally broke the news to members of the police department. “They were so happy and relieved,” said Santos. “Some started hugging each other.” Santos, who has long advocating increasing the city’s police force to 100, called the work behind obtaining the federal funding is one of his proudest achievements as mayor.

Hollister was notified of the federal grant late Thursday morning from the city’s Washington, D.C. lobbyist. San Leandro infamously missed out on funding last year when the federal government reasoned the city’s crime situation was not in as dire need as other neighboring cities.

The additional resources, according to Willis, could allow them to add personnel to crime prevention, one additional school resource officer and bicycle officer each along with bulking up their special operation forces.