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U.S. Dept. of Justice awards $4.9M to Puerto Rico towns to hire police officers

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it is awarding a combined $4.9 million to six Puerto Rico towns to hire a total of 75 full-time law enforcement professionals, the agency announced.

The funding is part of a global $400 million assignment through the agency’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). A total of 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation will be able to hire 2,732 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. 

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico congratulates the six municipalities that received the COPS award, and we encourage other municipalities to continue applying for these and other grants that the Department of Justice offers,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, W. Stephen Muldrow.

The towns that received the COPS funding awards to hire additional full-time law enforcement professionals are: Guaynabo, $1,958,611 for 28 officers; Hatillo, $344,176 for seven officers; Jayuya, $303,634 for six officers; Luquillo, $793,725 for eight officers; San Juan, $1,161,351 for 19 officers; and Villalba, $368,938 for seven officers.

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 U.S. Department of Justice said.

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.

About 43 % of the awards announced 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, the federal agency confirmed.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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