Thank you, Josh, for all that you and your colleagues in the COPS Office do every day to promote smart policing, partnerships between community and law enforcement, and for helping to make this announcement possible.
And let me especially thank my friend and a very hardworking member of Congress, Representative Barbara Lee. You have made this a very pleasant homecoming for me, and I am grateful for your hospitality.
Thank you, Mayor Quan and Chairman Carson. Your hard work, over many years, and the work of your colleagues, both in Oakland and throughout Alameda County, is a big part of why we are here today, so thank you for your leadership.
I know that the U.S. Attorney, Melinda Haag, very much wanted to join us today but was unable to break a longstanding commitment. Melinda has been a staunch supporter of local law enforcement throughout the Northern District, and we’re pleased she’s sent her First Assistant, Brian Stretch, as well as Tom Stevens, who’s chief of the Oakland branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
And, most importantly, let me thank the law enforcement professionals here today and your brave colleagues throughout the field. Yesterday’s shooting at the Washington DC Navy Yard was a tragic reminder of just how dedicated our men and women in uniform are to protecting the communities they serve. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of that cowardly act of violence – both the injured and those who sadly lost their lives – and we send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to DC Metro Police Officer Scott Williams, who is recovering from gunshot wounds.
So my sincere appreciation goes out to all of you who patrol our neighborhoods, respond to emergencies and lead the work of keeping our communities safer places to live, work and play.
And I know, in an era of shrinking resources and increasing demands, that your work has never been tougher. Over the last several years, unprecedented layoffs and budget cuts have left many departments in a bind, trying to fight crime with fewer resources, all while maintaining the trust and confidence of the public.
Yet I also know that even as we confront our own fiscal challenges at the Department of Justice, we are striving to make resources available to help make your jobs easier. Through hiring programs, technical assistance, program and training development and other means, we are determined to help you do your jobs as effectively as you can.
That’s why I am excited to be here with all of you today to announce the Fiscal Year 2013 COPS Hiring Program grant awards. Many cities and counties across the country have been anxiously awaiting this announcement, and today we are pleased to extend some much needed assistance to our men and women in law enforcement in California.
Through the Department of Justice’s COPS Office, the City of Oakland will receive $4.5 million to hire 10 officers to help the City address its issues with gun violence. In addition, Alameda County will receive $2.2 million to fund eight new positions aimed at helping the county focus on adult and youth violence issues.
And as you can see today, Oakland and Alameda are not alone in this good news. The Department of Justice is awarding close to $20 million to law enforcement agencies across California, including many here in the Bay Area, like Hayward, Modesto, and East Palo Alto. The list also includes our neighbors in Sacramento, Vallejo, Galt, Dos Palos, Watsonville, and Atwater, as well as law enforcement agencies in Inglewood, Brawley, Kings County, Vallejo, Chula Vista, and Corona, among others.
It is our hope – it’s definitely our belief – that these resources will offer public safety agencies here in Oakland and throughout California some much-needed assistance to address major issues like homicides, gang crimes, youth violence, and crimes against children. And the Justice Department looks forward to continuing the partnerships we’ve built with local law enforcement – and building new ones with cities and counties throughout the state of California.
Again, thank you Congresswoman Lee, Mayor Quan, Chairman Carson, and our chiefs, officers and deputies in attendance. We look forward to continue working with you all.
With that, I’d like to ask Mayor Quan, with whom the Department has been pleased to partner in our efforts to make Oakland safer, to say a few words.