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      State budget shortfall leaves Valley police scrambling for grants

      Every morning Sgt. Rolando Garcia walks into his office at the San Juan Police Department, sits at the computer and starts typing.

      He's applying for a Crime Victims Liaison Grant.

      If he gets it, the San Juan police department will be able to hire someone who can solely focus on assisting victims of crime get aid from the state to cover things like medical costs and funeral bills.

      "If we see a grant opportunity we are going to put in an application to get funding, if any funding at all, to better serve the citizens of San Juan," Garcia said.

      Garcia said just last year the department brought in over $650,000 in grant money. That was in addition to the already $1.3 million dollars they are budgeted for each year.

      Garcia said this extra money has helped them purchase items they would have otherwise had to go without.

      Some of those items"bullet proof vests for the newly formed Tactical Patrol Unit.

      "These are between $700 to $1000 bucks a piece, Garcia said.

      Grants also helped the department acquire a new $49,000 dollar Tahoe for their K-9 unit.

      "That was no cost to our city or our budget. It allows us to keep that money and use it for more equipment."