TAMPA – U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez today announced $20,875,000 in grant funding through the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring Program. These funds have been awarded to 14 law enforcement agencies throughout the Middle District of Florida and will allow for the hiring of 167 additional full-time law enforcement officers.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $625,000 to hire five new officers.
“Community policing is an effective tool in reducing crime in our neighborhoods, building relationships of mutual trust and accountability, and implementing successful prevention and intervention strategies,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “We are eager to continue working with our partner agencies, our community, and our citizens in this collective problem-solving strategy to improve public safety.”
The COPS Hiring Program is a competitive award program intended to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing by providing direct funding for the hiring of career law enforcement officers. In addition to providing financial support for hiring, CHP provides funding to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to enhance local community policing strategies and tactics. In a changing economic climate, CHP funding helps law enforcement agencies maintain sufficient sworn personnel levels to promote safe communities. Funding through this program had been on hold since the spring of 2018 due to a nationwide injunction that was lifted earlier this year.
The Attorney General previously announced funding awards to 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which allows those agencies to hire 2,732 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. The awards are inclusive of the $51 million announced in May as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit.
“The Department of Justice is committed to providing the police chiefs and sheriffs of our great nation with needed resources, tools, and support. The funding announced today will bolster their ranks and contribute to expanding community policing efforts nationwide,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “A law enforcement agency’s most valuable assets are the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of protecting and serving their communities.”
CHP applicants were required to identify a specific crime and disorder problem focus area and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches to that problem focus area. 43 percent of the awards announced today will focus on violent crime, while the remainder of the awards will focus on a variety of issues including school-based policing to fund school resource officer positions, building trust and respect, and opioid education, prevention, and intervention. The COPS Office received nearly 1,100 applications requesting more than 4,000 law enforcement positions.