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U.S. Department of Justice announces COPS hiring program
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced funding awards to over 220 cities and counties, aimed at creating or saving approximately 800 law enforcement positions. The grants will fund over 600 new law enforcement positions and save an additional 200 positions recently lost or in jeopardy of being cut due to local budget cuts. All new law enforcement positions funded in the COPS 2012 Hiring Program must be filled by recent military veterans who have served at least 180 days since September 11, 2001.
More than $111 million is being awarded to local public safety agencies across the country. The list of this year’s grantees includes Tacoma, Burien and Port Townsend Police Departments, as well as the Kitsap and Clallam County Sheriff’s Departments. The COPS Office will work with transition centers across the country to connect veterans with the new grant-funded law enforcement opportunities. For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2012 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.
“Today, we step up our support for recent veterans by offering them the chance to pursue meaningful careers in law enforcement,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. "At a time of budget shortfalls, these grants will provide opportunities for much-needed, highly-trained professionals – with a proven commitment to service - to continue their careers in communities all across the country.”
“This new opportunity for veterans is a commitment to support those who are coming home from their tour of duty,” said Bernard Melekian, COPS Office Director. “We sincerely hope this effort encourages our veterans to continue to protect and serve the United States through new law enforcement careers.”
“These grants provide additional police officers needed in our communities, and provide significant opportunities for our veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “The rigorous criteria examined not only crime rates, but the commitment by law enforcement to work with community groups and other partners to address specific crime problems. I commend the Tacoma, Burien and Port Townsend Police Departments, as well as the Kitsap and Clallam County Sheriff’s Departments for successfully obtaining these grants. This is great news for their departments and for the people in their communities.”
The COPS Hiring Program makes grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. Along with the pledge to hire military veterans, grantees for the 2012 Hiring Program were selected based on fiscal need and local crime rates. An additional factor in the selection process was each agency’s strategy to address specific problems such as increased homicide rates and gun violence.
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called for a new Veterans Jobs Corps initiative to help put veterans back to work on a range of projects that leverage skills developed in the military, including first responder jobs. In February, the President announced that preference for this year’s COPS and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants would be given to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans to serve as police officers and firefighters.