Local cities awarded grants to hire more police officers

Local cities awarded grants to hire more police officers

(WOIO) - The U.S. Department of Justice awarded seven cities and agencies a total of $124 million in grants to create, protect, and add new law enforcement positions.

The money is coming from the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Included in the funds, $5.1 million will be coming to Ohio.

"The idea of community policing is for officers to get to know the people they're policing, so they're not stuck behind the wheel of their patrol car going from one call to another. Then they can understand both the problems that those people are facing and they can understand where to find the information that they need in order to solve crimes," said Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The list of this year's grantees includes:

  • Austintown, $250,000 for two officers.
  • Canton, $1,125,000 for nine officers.
  • Cleveland, $1,875,000 for 15 officers.
  • The Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, $500,000 for four officers.
  • Lima, $375,000 for three officers.
  • Lorain, $625,000 for five officers.
  • Warren, $375,000 for three officers.

"The Justice Department is proud to support the brave men and women serving and protecting our communities in the Northern District of Ohio," said Dettelbach. "As we work together to develop innovative strategies to reduce firearms violence, dismantle gang activity and break cycle of violence, we need to help the people on the front lines to fight crime."

"The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in addressing their most critical public safety issues," said Ronald Davis, director of the COPS Office. "Funding from this year's program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime, and school safety."

The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides salaries and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years.

Grantees for the 2014 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and community policing plans.

"For all urban police departments, there have been tough budget times in the last years, and the Department of Justice is very happy that we're able to, in some way, financially support the efforts of places, like Cleveland," said Dettelbach.

Safety expert Ken Trump says the city should use these new officers to balance prevention with strong enforcement.

"Many gang activities and drug activities require intense investigative resources. It requires deep investigation, penetration and infiltration of those groups, strong enforcement surveillance and working with other agencies, and that takes time and money," said Trump.

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