Police to get sniper grants

Area police agencies are eligible to receive a total of $249,977 disbursed by the federal government to compensate for overtime incurred during the sniper investigation, Gov. Mark R. Warner announced Wednesday.

Prince William police are eligible for $227,116, Manassas City police are eligible for $13,301 and the Prince William Sheriff’s Office is eligible for $9,560.

Manassas Park police did not receive any funds; they were in the process of applying for the money late last year, Sgt. Karen Barton, Manassas Park police spokeswoman said Thursday. The department incurred about $5,000 in overtime costs.

Jurisdictions throughout Virginia’s Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Richmond will receive 58 percent of the total $2.1 million extra it cost to have more officers work longer hours in the search for the killers. The reimbursement money is coming from the U.S. Department of Justice.

John Allen Muhammad, 42, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, are accused in the killing spree that claimed 10 lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Increased police activity extended from areas in Montgomery County, Md., to Henrico and Hanover counties near Richmond during the three-week spree.

“Sheriff’s deputies were out there every night, including me,” Prince William County Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen III, said of the October sniper investigation. None of the overtime money will go to Stoffregen himself, however. None of the deputies that worked overtime have been paid for that time yet, he said.

Sheriff’s deputies were participating on the Spotsylvania County task force during the investigation.

“I had a deputy assigned down there full time,” Stoffregen said. “We were out in different shifts each night patrolling certain areas. An awful lot of time and work went in by a lot of different people.”

Manassas City police officers were already paid for the overtime they worked; the reimbursement money is going right back into the overtime budget, Police Chief John Skinner said.

“All of the officers responded giving 150 percent effort, time and professional commitment to working around the clock,” Skinner said.

“We had all hands on deck,” Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said of the investigation. “We had a number of strategies and tactics under way that involved surveillances of high-risk areas and special response to the areas if we had risks to those areas. We had officers in and around schools during school hours. So it was a very intense time.”

“It’s very rewarding to see that the state is possibly going to come through with the payment for the time that our deputies worked on this,” Stoffregen said.

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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