COLUMBUS — Ohio police and fire departments and emergency medical service agencies could apply for up to $250 million in federal grants meant to help first responders fight violent crime and recover from pandemic-related hardships, under a proposal announced Monday by Gov. Mike DeWine.
The fast-tracked measure would spend $175 million on crime fighting efforts such as helping police target violent hot spots, reduce evidence backlogs, and pay for gunshot detection devices, according to the proposal, which would make federal pandemic relief funds available as competitive grants.
Another $75 million would provide funding for wellness programs for first responders that address things like suicide prevention and mental health issues unique to police officers, firefighters and EMTs. The money would also pay for programs to help recruit and retain first responders in agencies whose workforce shrank during the pandemic.
Lawmakers could include the funding in a bill scheduled for a Senate committee vote this week.