Mayor Annise Parker and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) today announced funding awards to 263 cities and counties, including Houston. Houston’s portion of the funding totals $1.5 million, which will fund 15 police officers. Nationwide, more than $125 million is being awarded, which will pay for a total of 937 law enforcement positions.
“Houston is one of just a few cities receiving a full grant,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “Crime has been and always will be one of my top priorities. With this money we’ll be able to cover the cost of putting 15 officers on the street. That’s good news for our neighborhoods and our community as a whole.”
The COPS Hiring Program offers 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.
“The COPS Office is pleased to assist local law enforcement agencies throughout the country in addressing their most critical public safety issues,” said Joshua Ederheimer, Acting Director of the COPS Office. “Funding from this year’s program will allow many cities and counties to apply new sworn personnel to issues related to violent crime, property crime, and school safety.”
Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr., says the grant is much needed and appreciated. “Anytime we can get assistance to fund more officers to patrol our neighborhoods, it is good news for HPD and the citizens we serve. The Houston Police Department is thankful to all of those who helped in securing this grant.”
Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their community policing plans. There was an additional focus this year on agencies requesting assistance in developing school safety programs that would include the hiring of a school resource officer. School resource officer positions funded by the COPS Office are sworn law enforcement positions that work within a school district or facility, interacting directly with school administrators and students.
“The Administration put a focus on school safety at the start of this year and we’ve worked to coordinate a program that offers valuable resources to assist local law enforcement in these efforts and many others,” stated Ederheimer.
The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded over $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of approximately 125,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training, and technical assistance.
The list of this year’s grantees includes Oakland, Sacramento, and Alameda County, CA; Houston, TX; Hartford, CT; Des Moines, IA; Milwaukee, WI; Richland County and Charleston, SC; Louisville, KY; Akron, OH; Seattle, WA and more.
For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.