Attorney general announces $1 billion in new COPS funding.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the COPS Hiring Recovery Program during a general session at NLC's Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C.
"We know how difficult things are today, and we want to do everything we can to ease the pressure you are facing to fund your police departments while making investments that will help your local economy and make us safer," Holder said to more than 2,000 local officials gathered at the conference.
The new COPS money is part of $4 billion of Recovery Act funds dedicated to state and local law enforcement efforts.
The COPS Hiring Recovery Program is a competitive grant program designed to address the full-time sworn officer needs of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies nationwide. Through it, the Department of Justice will provide funding directly to local law enforcement agencies to hire new officers, or to rehire experienced officers. The program does not require a match from local governments.
"It is hard to underestimate the importance of this announcement. These funds are much needed and much appreciated," said NLC President Kathleen M. Novak, mayor of Northglenn, Colo. "The Community Oriented Policing Services Program is a successful example of cities and the federal government working together."
This $1 billion in new COPS funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create or save approximately 5,500 law enforcement officer jobs across the country and inject much-needed resources directly into cities.
"This additional investment will pump new resources into your communities through a program with a proven track record," Holder said. "This program is a win-win. We will not just create and preserve jobs, but also increase community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts. We know you need new resources to keep your streets safer and make your economies stronger, and beginning today, we are making those resources available to you.
Holder encouraged local officials to go to www.cops.usdoj.gov to begin applying for the grants to get new police officers out onto the streets of cities and towns as soon as possible.
The Justice Department also just launched $2 billion in new Byrne Justice Assistance Grants from the Recovery Act.
"Like the competitive COPS grants, that funding will keep our communities safer by putting more police officers on the street and more prosecutors in the courthouse," Holder said. "But it also has the flexibility to permit localities to invest in technology, crime-prevention, and other programmatic needs that will help keep our streets safe and young people away from crime."
Holder also said the Recovery Act allows for $225 million in funding in Violence Against Women Act grants to combat sexual assault and $390 million for local law enforcement assistance, including $225 million in competitive Byrne grants, $125 million targeted for rural areas and $40 million for the Southern border (including $10 million for ATF's Project Gunrunner).
Holder said his office and cities need each other's help to eradicate crime from city streets and that federal and local law enforcement must improve the sharing of information.
"As you know, threats to our communities come in many different shapes and sizes. Crime is always looking for a way in. With your help, we can find ways to keep it out," he said. "And notice I said 'we.' I'm pledging here today that the Justice Department and this Administration will work with you. That's not just lip service. You have my personal commitment that, under my watch, the United States Department of Justice will work with you day in and day out to keep our cities safe. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and do the things we know we can do to bring about positive change to our cities.
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|Title Annotation:||National League of Cities|
|Author:||Hogan, Cyndy Liedtke|
|Publication:||Nation's Cities Weekly|
|Article Type:||Conference news|
|Date:||Mar 23, 2009|
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