Police and firefighters weren’t forgotten when Congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package in March.
Within a week of the law’s enactment, aid began flowing to states and cities through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, run by the Justice Department. Much of that aid goes to police departments across the country, which have received more than $143 million so far, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis of grant recipients.
But firefighters, who were promised $100 million, have yet to get a dime. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requires a cumbersome peer review process for grant awards that can take months.
The result has been a frustrating wait for money designed to help fire departments buy personal protective equipment, thermometers, sanitizer sprayers and other material needed to fight fires during the pandemic.