Today, Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13) announced that the City of Elyria Fire Department received a grant for $3,691,155 through the Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, which will serve to save 23 firefighting jobs in Elyria.
"I am proud to have worked with Chief Benton and our local partners in Elyria to deliver this critical funding and save nearly two dozen jobs," said Sutton. "Our first priority should be ensuring the safety and security of our constituents; delivering these funds and protecting these jobs is the best way we can keep our neighborhoods safe for years to come."
In support of the City of Elyria's attempts to secure funding for their fire department and protect jobs, Congresswoman Sutton sent a letter to Elizabeth Harman, the Assistant Administrator of the Grants Program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In the letter, Sutton stressed that, "without a SAFER grant Elyria officials will be forced to lay-off 23 fire fighters" and that, "such a reduction in staffing, it would be nearly impossible for the fire department to meet response times as mandated by the National Fire Protection Association."
"As Chief of the Elyria Fire Department I cannot thank Congresswoman Sutton and her staff enough for fighting for, and securing funding to keep communities like Elyria safe," said Richard A. Benton Jr., Chief of the Elyria Fire Department. "After fighting hard to help Elyria secure a SAFER grant in 2009 which brought 23 laid-off firefighters back to work, Congresswoman Sutton did not stop there, she continued to monitor the financial hardships Elyria was going through and graciously offered her support. Many in Elyria had hoped the two year grant would give us time to recuperate from the recession but unfortunately it has been a much slower process than expected, coupled with cuts in state funding, the Elyria Fire Department was forced to issue lay-off notices to these 23 firefighters at the end of the 2009 grant. With the 2011 SAFER award we will keep these 23 firefighters on the job protecting Elyria and able to offer our surrounding communities Mutual Aid as needed. Thanks again Congresswoman Sutton for truly understanding the safety needs of your communities. "
As a member of the Law Enforcement Caucus, Congresswoman Sutton worked to expand the language for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants enabling cities to rehire or retain much-needed fire-fighters, as well as supporting Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants for additional officers and resources for local police departments.