by Michael Balsamo
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department said Thursday it is giving $139 million to police departments across the US as part of a grant program that will bring in more than 1,000 new officers.
Grant money comes through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Police Services and will be provided to 183 law enforcement agencies nationwide and in U.S. territories. The funds are meant to help police departments reduce crime and encourage community policing.
“We are committed to providing police departments with the resources they need to help ensure community safety and build community trust,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.
The grant awards come as police departments across the US face budget cuts, cities grapple with ballooning costs from the coronavirus pandemic and national efforts to reduce police funding in favor of spending more money on social services. make a call. Many police agencies have delayed or canceled police academy classes, leaving many jobs likely to remain vacant when other officers retire.
Law enforcement agencies across the country experienced a wave of retirements and departures and are struggling to recruit the next generation of police officers since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis in May 2020, leading to There was a massive protest about policing and inequality. Country. And amid the policing system at the national level, communities are questioning who should become a police officer today.
The Justice Department said it has received about 600 applications from police departments in nearly every state and US territory. The grant requires that the funds be used to hire additional officers, in addition to those who would normally be hired using the police department’s operating budget.
Money is given directly to police and sheriff departments to hire new law enforcement officers. The Justice Department says half of the agencies plan to use the money “focused on building legitimacy and trust between law enforcement and communities,” while others plan to use it to create mental health programs or Will do to focus on violent crime – a Justice Department priority.
This money is being provided to the police departments of both small and big departments. For example, the grant provides funding for an additional 50 executives in San Francisco, Chicago, Cincinnati and Houston. New Orleans, Cleveland and St. Paul, Minnesota, would receive 30 new officers, and other smaller forces would receive a few new officers.
In all, the funding allocated 1,066 new officers, for a total cost of $139,232,523, the Justice Department said.
In addition to funding for hiring, the Justice Department provides police grants to local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance community policing, in which agencies use relationships with community leaders about needs. to communicate and identify the concerns of residents.