FORT WORTH — Fort Worth's top cop is criticizing NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for failing to deliver on a grant to provide the department with a police dog.
In a letter obtained by News 8, Chief Jeff Halstead said the department was "saddened and very disappointed to hear the news that we were not awarded a Ben Roethlisberger Foundation grant."
The department said Roethlisberger promised the funding while meeting with officers in the week leading up to Superbowl XLV, which was held in Arlington.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a foundation that provides grants to police and fire departments across the country to be used to purchase K-9s and to train their handlers. The department had to fill out an application for the grant, but the letter says "if they submitted the application, the funding would be rewarded."
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation denies any promises were made. A spokesperson for the foundation said the city's application was turned down due to to a large amount of requests.
Since 2007, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has given nearly 100 grants, totaling more than $850,000, to organizations across the country.
In a statement to News 8, the foundation's administrator, Stephanie Sandler, said "They sent us a letter expressing their disappointment and intention to inform the media. We have since attempted to contact them numerous times to discuss the matter. They have not returned our calls."
Fort Worth police deny getting any calls from the organization, but seemed to step back from their stance Monday night. The department released a statement saying they "regret any misunderstanding between the Fort Worth Police Department and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation."
Roethlisberger's agent, Ryan Tollner, said that his client is disappointed by the letter and the controversy.
From Ben Roethlisberger Foundation administrator Stephanie Sandler:
"The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation distributed more than $130,000 in grants to police and fire departments throughout the country during this year's grant cycle and has distributed more than $850,000 in grants since 2007 when the Foundation was established. Unfortunately, all of the requests we receive simply cannot be met. The Fort Worth Police Department submitted a grant application this year and was not selected. They sent us a letter expressing their disappointment and intention to inform the media. We have since attempted to contact them numerous times to discuss the matter. They have not returned our calls."
"We regret any misunderstanding between the Fort Worth Police Department and the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation because we know how generous they have been to police and fire departments across the country."