DOJ awards nearly $400M for law enforcement hiring to advance community policing

The Department of Justice is awarding nearly $400 million in grant funding for law enforcement hiring to advance community policing.

Attorney General Bill Barr announced awards to 596 law enforcement agencies across the US, allowing them to hire 2,732 additional full-time entry-level career law enforcement officers in order to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities and support crime prevention efforts.

“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 Barr in a release. “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.”

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Four law enforcement agencies in the Western District received grants from the COPS Hiring Program. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office received $2 million to create 16 positions, the San Antonio Police Department received $3.125 million for 25 positions, the city of Temple received $375,000 for three positions and the Socorro Police Department received $742,237 for six positions.

According to the DOJ, 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, CHP provides funding to enhance local community policing strategies and tactics. Funding had been on hold since spring 2018 due to a nationwide injunction lifted earlier this year.

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The DOJ says applicants are required to identify a specific problem focus area and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches. 43 percent of the awards announced Tuesday will focus on violent crime, while the remainder of the awards will focus on a variety of issues including funding 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 positions, according to the DOJ.

Click here to see the full list of agencies awarded funds.