WASHINGTON – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the Department of Justice is now accepting applications for $1 billion in Recovery Act Funds for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. Approximately 5,500 law enforcement officer jobs will be created or saved in law enforcement agencies across the country through funding provided by the Department of Justice.
"This investment of Recovery Act funds will pump new resources into our communities through a program with a proven track record," said U.S. Attorney General Holder. "We will not just create and preserve jobs, but also increase community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts."
Funds awarded to law enforcement agencies by the COPS Office provide 100 percent of entry-level salary and benefits for each officer for three years. All jurisdictions that receive funding must plan to retain COPS-funded officer positions for at least one year after the grant ends.
The COPS Office is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. Since 1995, COPS has awarded more than $10 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,300 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of nearly 117,000 officers. In addition to funding law enforcement positions, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has been the catalyst for innovations in community policing, and the broad implementation of this effective law enforcement strategy. Currently, departments that employ community policing serve 87 percent of American communities.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R.1) includes $4 billion in Department of Justice grant funding to enhance state, local, and tribal law enforcement efforts, including the hiring of new police officers, to combat violence against women, and to fight internet crimes against children. The Justice Department also recently announced the allocation of $2 billion in Recovery Act funding for state and local law enforcement and criminal justice assistance through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Similar to the JAG awards, COPS Recovery Act funds can also be used to hire new officers or rehire recently laid off officers, fill unfunded vacancies and help prevent scheduled layoffs within law enforcement agencies.
Unlike JAG funds, COPS funds are allocated directly to the local level governments and law enforcement agencies and provide a three-year period of funding. COPS hiring grants will be awarded through a competitive application process that will take into account the impact of the current economic crisis on applicant agencies, as well as crime statistics and plans for initiating and advancing community policing. The procedure for allocating JAG grants is based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics, in combination with a minimum allocation to each state and territory.